Summertime! My prayer is that for you there will be time for Sabbath rest, recreation and renewal both of your own body and spirit, and of friendships and relationships. I invite you to consider two spiritual disciplines this summer.
First, take time to meet the God who made the heavens and the earth in the enjoyment of nature this summer. Rejoice in the God who made all this, and take delight in the works of God’s hands. On our Worship in the Park (moved to the sanctuary) Sunday, I recommended that you print Psalm 104 (all but the last verse) and use it to pray and meditate and give thanks for the gifts of God found in nature: that would be an excellent summer discipline for young and old alike. Join the earth in a song of thanks and praise to the Creator using Psalm 104.
God invites you to a summer of joy – a summer meditation. For when we engage the creation, we can’t help but encounter the Creator. As Martin Luther put it in the 15th Century:
A second invitation is to engage intentionally in the practice of loving your neighbors. There are so many ways to do this – pray for your actual neighbors, especially ones who might be a little harder to love, and be open to the leading of the Spirit in ways you might show some practical love and care for them – bring in their paper, bake some extra cookies, forgive a trespass.
Or maybe take the example from your Outreach Committee and reach out to share a meal and conversation with long time neighbors you do not know well. Last week, 9 members of the Outreach Committee (Elders Jeannette Schneider, Maggie Monney, and Dave Kichula, along with Sherri Foran, Susan Matson, Robin Reeves, Dave Teich, Debbie Warfield and Anne Willis) and I met with the staff of Better Beginnings for a jointly planned “de-stress” activity as part of our hope to build stronger relationships with those who are important partners in the work of caring for the children of this community. We shared a meal and some getting to know you games at tables with folks from both groups. Then, we spent about 30 minutes practicing some chair yoga – breathing deeply together. This was a gift to us from Samantha Andrews and the Yoga One studio where she is an instructor. Susan is also an elder at Cranbury Presbyterian. “Neighboring” can be so much fun!
Breathe deeply, look around, and give thanks to God for the beauty of nature and the gift of neighbor.
Grace and gratitude,