CLERGY CORNER: The summer vacation of the church

Posted on 30 June 2016 by LeslieM

Trinity Season is the long summer vacation of the Christian Church. It lasts from Ascension Day (40 days after Easter) until Advent Sunday (usually the first Sunday in December), a span of seven or eight months. The rest of the year is filled with days and weeks of intense activity — a myriad of events that celebrate the life and teachings of our Lord and define Christianity. Our Lord spent six intense days of activity during the Creation; but, the seventh day, He rested. He surely knew our lives could benefit by following the same pattern, so He gave us Trinity Season to rest and re-charge our batteries.

Now, whether our own vacation is a week or more long, or simply a series of “day-cations,” we should consider our vacation a gift from our Lord and use it, as it was given, for our joy and benefit.

That raises a question … how should we use it for our joy and benefit? We are all aware of the things we need in our lives to make our lives work: time with our Lord, family, friends and time with ourselves. If you are anything like me, you have probably discovered that when your life is out of sync, you have let some of the things that make your life work, slip out of your life. Our Lord’s gift of Trinity Season gives each of us an opportunity to gaze deep into our hearts and identify those things that are truly necessary for our well-being and make certain they are right where they need to be.

Summer vacation and time with our Lord: When we gaze deep in our hearts, we had better see our Lord looking back at us, because Saint Paul reminds us, “In him we live and move and have our being.” There is no life apart from our Lord or apart from the life He planned for us.

Our summer vacation is a perfect time to make certain we are walking, hand-and-hand, with Him, in the same direction. Revisiting our prayer life is a wonderful way to enrich our walk with Him. The words we use are not important. He knows our concerns and what is in our hearts. Whether we are newbies or oldsters to daily prayer, the way we do it is the same. Find a quiet place, turn off the chatter in our minds, and be with the one who loves us most. Speak to Him as we do to a loved one, and listen to Him as we do our most trusted friends. If we make this a part of our summer vacation, then, come fall, He will have made us brand new.

Summer vacation time with family and friends: It is no secret that our Lord made us social beings, some more than others, but all in need of some measure of companionship. If you are blessed with ideal relationships with family and friends, then you have a wonderful summer vacation ahead of you. However, if you are like me, and “wonderful” does not describe all your relationships, then our Lord has given us a summer vacation promise of how He heals broken relationships. Again the words of Saint Paul: “Let peace of our Lord rule in your hearts. Forgive one another, and, above all things, put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Love is the best slave for hurt relationships. Smear it on heavy and cover all that hurts!

Summer vacation and time with ourselves: Life can be exhausting, both physically, emotionally and spiritually. Shakespeare famously said that “sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care, is sore labor’s bath and is the balm of hurt minds.” True enough, but I say that summer vacations also have a restorative effect on our exhaustion! Yes, it is good to spend time with ourselves, or as someone once said, to be alone “with the beating of our own heart.” But the wonderful thing about spending time with ourselves is that it gives us the opportunity to invite others to come into our world, and for them to invite us into theirs, so we can all share our joys, benefits and challenges together.

If all this sounds a little bit like “kumbayah” to you, please don’t blame me. Perhaps we can use some of that in this disjointed world in which we live.

Have a wonderful summer, reconnect with all those who are dear to you, and may the Lord bless us all.

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Morning Prayer at 10 a.m. on Wednesday; Holy Communion at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and 7 p.m. on Thursday.

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