It's summer!! Graduations have occurred (including my granddaughter, Grace's). The air is warm and of course, in my head run various songs about summer: "Summertime and the livin' is easy," (from Porgy and Bess,) "Summer breeze makes me feel fine. Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind" (Seals and Croft) and not to be forgotten, "Summer in the City," (The Lovin' Spoonful). There are many others, of course, both older and newer. My point is, we feel like we can kick off our shoes, relax and take a deep breath. Somehow, with the arrival of summer, we can relax. We certainly need such relaxation in our busy world.
My question and challenge to you is, how will you use this "extra time?" Vacations are a good idea. I'll be taking one the first full week of July. We'll be going to Rochester for my granddaughter's graduation party. Will you be getting away at all and will it be a time to feed your soul as you vacation?
I want to encourage you to not take a vacation from God this summer, but to find rest in him. In this more relaxed time, draw near to God as the letter of James states, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8).
Maybe you've been trying to figure out your relationship with God. What does God want you to do with your life? Something I found very helpful and easy to use is the Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool by the ELCA. It's easiest to do online, where it is automatically scored. Here is the link: https://www.elca.org/our-work/congregations-and-synods/faith-practices/spiritual-renewal/assessment-tools. There is also a paper copy I can give you if you are interested.
There is a great big world outside of Bemus Point and the Jamestown area with many needs–whether you think of Buffalo, Ukraine, the Middle East. God calls each of us to impact our world by our lives in Christ. We are to share God's love in any number of ways and yet…we still need to
not only live, but proclaim the gospel of the good news of God in Christ Jesus with our mouths.
I know this is hard for many of us, including myself, but the reality is, we are seeing fewer people in our churches everywhere. More churches in our synod are closing. That news is hard, but we can take heart. We can rely on the God whose church this is, just as the disciples in Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 had to.
If you can, please join us at church Sunday, July 10, when our bishop, Lee Miller II, will be with us for worship. He will be preaching and presiding at holy communion. Let's get better acquainted with him.
Have a good, rest-filled summer. God bless you all.
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