From the Desk of Pastor Laura:
"Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy"
Psalm 96:11-12 (NRSV)
Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ!
The month of June brings with it the promise of relaxation and travels. Many have already made it out to their cabins and opened everything up after a long winter. Windows are opened, dust is removed, and all is prepared for weekends filled with time spent outside with family and friends.
Gardens are tilled and planted; new growth has begun to spring forth in the fields. The sun makes its appearance after weeks of spring rain, and jackets, hats, and gloves are tucked away.
There is a definite sense of preparation and anticipation that fills the air for what the summer months will bring. This joyful celebration of God's creation and the blessing of being able to enjoy it is described in the verses from Psalm 96 above With the trees of the field and the praises of the exultant fields, we give thanks to God for creation and the beauty that is enjoyed to the fullest in the warm summer months.
With the being said, the balance of relaxation and stress is a touch one. So often we can feel so ready and almost desperate for summer to arrive that we start to pack it full in order to make the most of every single minute. There is some value to that, of course, but there comes a point where the opportunities to get away and enjoy moments of being outdoors, surrounded by nature, and spending time with family and friends away from home become just as stressful as the scheduled of life during the work week.
We can turn to the words of Scripture for guidance and inspiration for how we can find that balance. Of course we want to make the most of every moment we are given to get away and relax; to enjoy the lakes, rivers, and cabins that we have missed so much over the winter. But the psalmist provides a perfect reminder that it's important to take moments where we notice the little things; where we let ourselves have the space to sit in silence, surrounded by God's beautiful creation, and say a prayer of thanks for its wonder and magnificence, for the gift of family and friends, and for God's providence in our lives.
I invite you to join me in striving to find opportunities this month to take a few moments to give thanks and to take in the beauty around us. Sit in silence for a few minutes. Breathe in the fresh air, feels the rays of sun on your face, and may the peace of God surround you all as you begin your summer adventures.