A newsletter message written for St. David's Episcopal Church, Kinnelon, NJ
Summer is a time when many of us take some time off from our regular schedules and plans, and get a change of scenery. Even if travel is inconvenient or unaffordable, simply making a change in your schedule, or taking a “staycation” can be beneficial, too. Aside from simply being important for our own sanity, these regular “breaks” from our normal activities serve vital spiritual purposes. They give us opportunities to clear our minds and to refocus ourselves. They can help us to see the world from a different perspective.
Jesus regularly called on the disciples to take breaks – to take time away from the crowds and the work, and to reconnect with God. And Jesus did it, too. How many times, after one of the great stories of the life of Jesus, do we hear from the gospels that he went away, by himself, immediately after?
The fact is, spiritual work is hard. And it is exhausting. If you are doing the work of following Christ (the labor, certainly, but also the spiritual work), you will need breaks. Hopefully, our Sunday worship is a part of that time of spiritual renewal for you. As much as we need times of worship to challenge us and to help us to grow, we also need worship to provide us with time for rest, reflection, and re-connection with God.
Our spiritual lives need balance. We need to work and to be challenged, but we also need Sabbath.
As you make your way through summer – if you have a chance to get away or to take a break from your regular schedule, think about how that shifting perspective impacts your relationship with God. Are there things you can do that can help you to see the world in a broader way? Are there ways that you can see things and people and perspectives that had eluded you before?
One of the things that I believe to be true about God, is that God – in seeing and understanding all things and all people – can best be understood by broadening our own perspectives. We can never reach the breadth of perspective that God has, but in trying, we can move closer.
Of course, we can do this all year. We’re not limited to summer, or to vacations. But those can be times for us to refocus ourselves. When you have such times in your own life – whenever they might be – try to remember to include your relationship with God in that refocused perspective.