It’s summer! Bees will buzz, kids will blow dandelion fuzz and I’ll be doing what everyone does in summer!
Yes, I’ve just come back from a Disney vacation where I sang a LOT of Frozen songs! Kylie and I are taking two vacations this summer: most recently to Florida where my cousin got married, and next a camping trip in Yellowstone. I’m looking at summer as a time of renewal - is that possible in all this heat?
Sabbath rest and renewal are eternal themes in scripture and I encourage all to find a way to renew your spirit. Perhaps you don’t require travel for this renewal - and escaping into the pages of a good book will fill your cup to overflowing. Maybe you would rather take some time to rest waterside: pool, river, lake or ocean. Remember that taking time to rest and keeping that commitment to rest is a holy commandment (#4). So if your Sabbath days have included work - take some time to let your soul rest. Find a healthy way to revive your spirit. And rejoice for the opportunity to remember that your loving creator wishes you physical and spiritual wellness.
We are at that point in the Christian Year when everything is green. As we count the Sundays After Pentecost until Christ the King or Reign of Christ Sunday, we are working with each other, aided by the Holy Spirit, to establish an embodied realm of God’s love and justice for all of creation.
Here, in the Northeast, I equate the fullness of summer with our aim for the reign of Christ. Imagine with me that the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost is like the beginning of spring. Early spring brings the promise of melt and the coming of warmth and the lengthening of days. The weeping willows are often the first sign of color in world of grey and mud. The willows turn their bright yellow, the maples and oaks first show signs of red as the leaves begin to bud. There are a few weeks of bright green as leaves are new and grass resurrects from the lifeless muck that had been plowed and trampled. Now that spring is over and summer is here, every living tree is fully green - harbors for birds and squirrels and chipmunks.
Each year, this process of emerging and growing green reminds me of the Season after Pentecost, building to the Reign of Christ. In the continual growth of green and life, I see the spreading of good news of God’s love. I match the weeping willows with the friends of Jesus who wept at his torture and death. I see the red buds of oaks and maples as the blood of the martyrs of the early church. Slowly the trees develop into their fullness of life with green leaves and red leaves and brown leaves too, until the whole of the region feels completely alive. The work of the church is to spread (with the empowering presence of the Spirit) the good news of forgiveness and salvation found in Jesus. As this good news spreads across the earth, from community to community, freeing each and every child of God to know God’s love, the reign of Christ is established. This our work and our goal to spread the growth of love and grace until it covers every corner of creation.
I love this analogy - but you may be asking “what about the evergreens?” The evergreens are of course a part of this relational realm of God. In my thinking, the evergreens represent the people of God already in covenant - who have always known and maintained connection to and life in the presence of God.
Having shared with you this image - I have to ask - do you desire to spread the growth of good news as we establish a forest of grace? Are you marveling at the growing realm? How are you participating in this greening process?