By Pastor Wes Poole
Summertime and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high.
from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
OK, so that’s not my standard Biblical citation that I would usually use for our weekly devotion. I guess that’s just where my mind has been lately. Notwithstanding the fact that this particular quotation comes from one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of music (sacred or secular) that has ever been written, I think it captures the attitude many of us strive for in these Summer months. Sitting on the edge of a cool lake, outdoors breathing the fresh air and taking in the beauty of God’s Creation, lazily casting your fishing pole out into the water…mind on nothing at all…peaceful, relaxed, and content. It’s a powerful image and completely fitting for us. After all, God Himself is said to have rested after He created the Universe. After having our normal activities curtailed for most of the last year, the notion of a bit of travel and recreation is just a sweet, sweet thought! Christine, Ian, Julia, and I will be spending a few days this coming August in the SC Low Country, one of the original homes of laid back living and “high cotton”. The South is, aside from being a great place to vacation and relax, where most of our family lives. In fact, we’re going down in July to get my mother so she can spend some quality time with us before we head back down in August. I’m really looking forward to introducing her to our new church family. Even though we don’t live in the South anymore and likely won’t ever again, it is home…and the call to return home is a strong one indeed.
There is a stronger call, however, that also comes at the beginning of the summer months; a call that we, as Christians simply cannot ignore. This coming Sunday is the last Sunday of Eastertide. Pentecost follows, and soon we will find ourselves in those long, “green” Sundays after Pentecost that stretch through the summer months. I find it quite apropos that the third great celebration of the Church Year, Pentecost, is placed on the cusp of summer. While most of us are planning how to maximize our summer “R and R”, we are reminded of the Holy Spirit’s call to all of the members Christ’s Body, His Holy Church. Does this mean that we should abandon our plans for vacation and focus entirely on work? By no means! What Pentecost and its long season after does represent for us is the challenge not to forget our call to ministry as we seek refreshment. The work of the church is never done. Even though we are still playing “catch up” in many ways as the world recovers from the COVID lockdown, we must never lose sight of the fact that we are constantly to be seeking new and relevant ways of telling the great story of Our Lord and his love to the world. Sure, it may be a long time before the church is “back to normal” completely. Likely, some things will never quite go back to the way they were. That’s OK though. That’s life…and life is change! The gift of the Holy Spirit given to the church on that Pentecost Day two millennia ago, is still as alive, active, and fiery as it was way back then…and more than capable of meeting the challenges ahead. I pray that Spirit continues to enflame our hearts and engage our minds for ministry as we move into a hopeful future.
May the Blessings of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit fill us with purpose and peace!
Let us pray…
God of rest and refreshment, instill in us hearts eager for the challenges of ministry. Help us always to take care of each other and ourselves; that we might be ready to meet the needs of our Good Shepherd family, and our greater community. Jesus showed us the way to peace and eternal life. May we be equal to the task of showing others the way to him. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe.
Your Partner in Christ,