This is the last week of our summer break. Accordingly, I want to reflect a bit on our experience. As I take a moment to think about it, I’ve been reminded of at least three things over the last month.
First Reminder: It is Important to Connect with Family and Old Friends
Because pastors are called to be pastors in their communities, it’s helpful to stay in touch with old friends and family members–with people who know us as more than just “pastor.” This isn’t to say that we don’t have friends in our city, but those long term friends and family members are significant. I always enjoy going back to my home town and being known as Leon, son of Lyle and Julie, for a few days. It reminds me of who I am and to whom I belong. Although the town of my youth is no longer “home,” they’re still my people, and I belong.
Second Reminder: Sabbath is Important
We try to make our summer break a time of extended Sabbath. Yes, we do take a few days to work in the back yard during our break. But because I have limited time to do such labor during the year, this is a little bit of Sabbath for me. We also travel to visit family, which can be tiring. But this focus on relationships is also part of our taking Sabbath. And we try to get a bit of extra-sleep and to slow things down a bit. And also do a few fun things a long the way. This year I sensed just how exhausted I am. After seven years of ordained pastoral ministry, I’m tired. So this year I will work hard to take Sabbath on a regular basis, to replenish my body and soul. Sabbath is important!
Third Reminder: I Love the Church of Jesus Christ
Although I was away from my church family for a month, I remained in and with the Church of Jesus Christ. We worshipped the Lord each Sunday in a different congregation, which was very refreshing for me. I enjoyed hearing a few sermons preached by someone other than myself! We also spent time in God’s Word and in prayer as a family. In fact, this year we read a number of passages from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians–a great place to dwell during a summer break! And now we’re preparing to resume our pastoral ministry in our church and community, and I look forward to it. Sometimes you need to get away to remember how good you’ve got it at home!
So, what are you learning this summer? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about it.