The end of summer brings an opportunity for new beginnings in a variety of ways. School children heading back to classes prepare for new lessons, projects, exams, and the like. Moving up a grade usually means meeting new teachers and possibly new classmates. Transitioning from elementary to middle school, or from middle school to high school means learning your way around a new environment, along with taking new classes and making new friends. For teachers and support staff, the experience is similar. There are new kids to work with, new schedules to keep, and sometimes new educational standards to be implemented.
Parents go through a reset as well. Vacation days with great summer experiences have ended. Kids are out of the house and back in school. There are forms to be filled out and bus routes to confirm. Traffic for the morning commute to work increases, along with anxiety levels during the ride. These end-of -summer rituals predictably occur as most of us make the adjustments both physically and emotionally. Even nature prepares to bid farewell to summer in order to make room for autumn. Change, transition, adjustment and renewal are all around us at this time of year.
Most of the year has passed at this point and we are looking at just a few months left. At the beginning of the year, many people made plans and set goals to be accomplished. Now is a great time to review and assess and to make adjustments, if necessary. The opportunity to reset or begin anew at the end of summer gives us a chance to confirm which goals are most important, and to focus on the things that matter most. Even challenging circumstances may provide us with new lessons, different options, and a change in direction.
There is a movement among churches to capture this sense of renewal at the end of summer by inviting congregants back to church. Attendance usually diminishes during the summer months, causing some churches to adopt a summer schedule of fewer services. As vacation days come to an end and the kids head back to school, people are encouraged to reconnect with the fellowship and worship that church offers. There is even a national “Back to Church Campaign” that provides resources and ideas to congregations that desire to reach out to regular attendees as well as attract new people.
In all of life’s pursuits none should be considered more important than the development of our faith. Connecting with God and finding your purpose through Him is a very rewarding experience. I was impressed with several of the athletes who publicly gave thanks to God for their victories in the recent Olympics. They acknowledged that their abilities were granted by Him and rightly gave God the glory. Even some who came up short offered thanks for the opportunity to compete at such a high profile level.
As we say goodbye to the summer months and adjust to the coming season, why not reset our spiritual lives as well. If you’ve been out of church, or out of contact with your community of faith, why not reconnect and reaffirm your relationship with God. Bring the entire family and make a purposeful decision to move forward with faith, focus and gratitude. Seize these new days, and this new season, with a fresh attitude.
May you discover the joy of the Psalm (96:1) who declared “O sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord all the earth.” There is much more to experience and enjoy in life. Sometimes all you need is to reset.
Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-427-0302.