Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.
By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg
Aaah, summer. In our house, summer means we create what we call our “Summer Bucket List.” Each family member gets to add to the list specific things they’d like to experience before Labor Day rolls around. Items routinely include beach and zoo trips, baseball games, fairs, fireworks, pool time and specific roller coasters.
We have had ongoing projects like the Ice Cream Taste Test of 2013, where we sampled the ice cream of every ice cream store within a specific radius to see which one was best. (Brusters and Jimmie Cone split our household). For this summer, I’m still in prayer about it as of this writing, but I’m thinking about Never Miss a Sunset and Get Sermons Done Before Saturday…we’ll see.
Now, you should know that I am NOT a planner by nature. When my work requires it, I can plan, but my nature is to keep options open, make a list and lose it, that sort of thing. I’m a procrastinator (see sermon note, above). I’m the sort of person who buys organizers and then doesn’t use them.
One of the many things I’ve learned as a pastor is that it’s so easy to get absorbed in the work of ministry and miss out on connection with the people I love the most — spouse, children, friends. These folks are God’s gift, just as surely as my vocation is a gift, and very often they pay the price when there’s a funeral or a meeting or church events for seven Saturdays in a row. It would be easy to be so busy hurrying off to church to preach on the Good Samaritan that I pass by several folks in the ditch on the way.
Summer is a precious time where I have permission to slow down and to spend some extra time connecting with people, looking them in the eye, and really listening to them. Summer is a season where there’s just a little more space for rejoicing in God’s creation and in Sabbath rest. It’s Sabbath, writ large, wearing sunscreen and a big floppy hat. I commend it to you.
Time is precious and to live is a gift. Don’t waste your summer in a silo of work and business as usual. Fight idolatry. Be a rebel. Reconnect.
PS: What’s on YOUR summer bucket list? I’m always looking for inspiration! Email me at .