My first week of vacation has come to a close. Okay, maybe it was not 100% vacation. There have been e-mails and phone calls and one Collegiate conference call for a meeting … but still, for the most part it has been a restful and slow-paced week. I’ve worked six months trying to take off weight, and did pretty well with the effort. I am afraid to step on a scale now, fearing what a week’s worth of barbecue and southern fried foods has done to reverse all I have accomplished since January.
This week there has been time with family, especially all four of our kids. There has been reading that is more leisurely than hurried. I have had time for meditation and prayer … even for exercise, which is also a spiritual discipline. I’ve seen old friends with whom I have done ministry over a long number of years.
This coming week we will celebrate Independence Day by going to a river in the mountains of Virginia and spending time with Page’s family. There will be hot dogs and steaks, swimming and riding ATVs, stories at night by the fire and lots of talk about Alison’s upcoming wedding. There will be prayers of thanks for those present and those remembered, as well as for this nation whose birthday we celebrate.
I don’t know how you will observe “down time” this summer, but I hope you will have some. In the very first chapter of the Bible, God established the practice of Sabbath – setting aside time for rest and renewal. If we refuse to allot ourselves that time, then spiritual and emotional weariness lessens our effectiveness in almost every area of living. Give yourself the biblical gift of Sabbath.
Likewise, I don’t know how you will celebrate the 4th of July. In NYC, the options are plentiful and exciting. In fact, all across America people sit in front of televisions and watch what we do here. But, however we choose to observe it, I trust we will all give thanks for what this country has meant across the years, for the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy, as well as prayers for our future. Are there problems? Of course. We should also be praying about how we can become part of the solution to those problems. But, are there blessings? Undeniably, there are. So, let’s pray with thanks and also with determination to help heal whatever issues keep us from being everything God desires us to be.
Later this week, I will travel to Michigan to preach and lecture at the Bayview Chautauqua. (Yes, there are thirteen of those places nationally, including the original in Chautauqau, NY.) So, keep me in your prayers for that, as well, that I may be faithful in sharing with others what Paul called “the unsearchable riches” of our Christian faith.
I would write more... but I smell fried food in the kitchen. And I tried so hard on that diet!