SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Goodbye to summer

“Where has summer gone?” It seems like just yesterday that we couldn’t wait for warm weather after another long winter. Now school has started again and conversations have already turned to what kind of winter will we have this year. Life turns very quickly and summer seems so very fleeting. I have found that we sometimes try to pack so much fun, activity, and “relaxation” into summer that it can work against actually experiencing these things. So perhaps we could ask another question…
“What are we going to do now/today?” I believe this question is a far more productive one and one we can actually do something about, at least in part. First, I believe that it is essential to build some “summer” into the rest of the year – some intentional time to rest, relax, and play, as well as spend precious time with family, friends, and God.
This is really the biblical concept of “Sabbath” and it is designed into creation to help us rest and refocus on God’s good gifts to us. Sabbath time reminds us that we are not ultimately in charge and that everything comes to us as gift. It’s one way of saying that “God is God, and we’re not – thank God!”
I also believe that the end of summer, as “regular” activity resumes, is a really good time to reflect on life’s priorities. Some questions to consider might include:
• Does life really have to be so frantic?
• What will I choose to do and what will I choose not to do this fall?
• Can I simplify my life and focus on what matters most?
• Will the people I love most really know how much I care?
• Will I get enough exercise or sleep?
• What new thing will I learn?
• How will I grow spiritually?
• Will I take time to serve others, such as at fall Community Impact Day?
• What will I generously give to?
• Will I set aside time for worship and prayer?
What a privilege we have to live every day as a gift, no matter the season. We have the opportunity to prioritize each of our days according to God’s design and the values we hold. One of my favorite Bible passages reminds me of the value of each and every day no matter what does or doesn’t happen: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
All too often we live in the past with regret or the future with anxiety, rather than in the present with thanksgiving and joy. To help us do this, we will launch 40 Days of Gratitude at Calvary at the end of this month. Let me know if you would like more information or want to participate.
Of course living in the moment is not always an easy thing to do. Yet when I do, I experience more joy and peace. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on (God), because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
I believe that God, in his amazing grace, wills to redeem our past (no matter what it holds) and to assure us about the future (no matter what it holds). But most of all I think God wants to journey with us today, and invites us to give our lives over to his control. I want to encourage you (and me) to make this our number one priority this fall. This is all “because you matter!”
By the Rev. Jonathan Heierman, senior pastor at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church

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