Summer time and the livin’ is easy . . . So begins the song from the musical Porgy and Bess. When you read this, summer will be more than half over. Still there is time for a bit more “easy living” – vacation – relaxing in the beauty of the natural world – catching up with relatives or friends - a break from all the fall and winter activities. And for some – a break even from the routine of church – a different kind of Sabbath time – time to find God outside the walls.
So how do we make sure that we honor God’s goodness and love when we are away from church?
I find two simple spiritual practices quite helpful. The first is GRATITUDE. When I intentionally make note – either mentally or more formally in my prayer journal of the things, the people, the experiences that give me joy I am happier – kinder - less likely to complain – more centered.
I am particularly thankful this summer for:
The love of my family
A couple of very good friends who I can call upon when I need them – whether that is to share frustration or to share joy
A church council that is beginning to do some visioning for our future
Many evenings without meetings
Bike rides and gardening
A special project I am enjoying here at church (developing a new web-site; including experimenting with this new blog!)
The second spiritual practice that helps me remember God’s goodness and love is “NOTICING”. Noticing may seem like an odd spiritual practice, but so many times we are in such a hurry that we miss the little things that can bring joy and gladness to our lives and we miss the little things that effect the people around us.
A few things I attempt to notice:
New flowers as they bloom in my garden or the gardens that I pass on my daily walks.
The chirping of the chipmunk on my deck. The song of the bird in the tree.
What is changing in the world around me and in the people I know and love.
The way my words or my actions affect other people; the times they bring a smile and the times they hurt.
Noticing can brighten our day but it can also make us aware of the effect we have on others and give us the opportunity to change behavior that tears down into behavior that builds up.
Summertime. It is still with us. So enjoy your summer no matter how you are spending it. And as you enjoy share that enjoyment with God – noticing the wonder and giving God thanksgiving and praise.