The recent heat has reminded us all that summer has arrived. Summer is often thought of as a time to slow down, take a break, go on vacation. Church life tends to slow down as well, not as many activities are scheduled. The Church is in the long season between Pentecost and Advent, sometimes referred to as Time for the Church or Ordinary Time.
Time for the Church or Ordinary time is a season of growth. You may have noticed that the altar cloth and the pulpit and lectern covers are green. The color green symbolizes life, hope and anticipation.
This season is a good time to focus on our spiritual life. Spending time with God is an important part of our faith. There are many different ways we can go about this. We can, and probably should, start by engaging with God in small increments. We often want to start out “big” and try to commit to spending an hour in prayer or reading an entire book of the Bible at once. And when we fail to follow through, we give up.
But just like athletes need to start out training slowly, we need to delve into our spiritual practices slowly. A runner does not start out by running a marathon on the first day. They start out slow and build up. And in the process of starting out slow, they may discover that sprinting is better suited for them. Or maybe the hurdles. Or the pole vault. Or swimming.
We may find that our time with God is more fulfilling by using a different practice than what we keep trying to do. Many years ago (I am thinking about 20 but I may be wrong) I participated in a multi-week look at different prayer practices. We experienced prayer in many different forms. Some worked well for me; some not so much. Visio Divina, praying through a visual such as an icon or picture, and drumming, there is something so primal about drumming, were the two that have stuck with me along my journey.
It is not simply different practices that help us engage with God. Ordinary things like cooking, baking, gardening done with the intentionality of being with God can do so. In one of my prior churches, a deeply spiritual man in the congregation who was a farmer told me that his time spent working in the fields was also time spent with God. He turned his work into a prayer practice.
Spend this summer finding what helps you spend time with God. The options are limitless. If you would like to talk about it more, let me know.