Message from the Rector: Summer of God's Love
Summer of God's Love
Summer is here. It is a time to experience the goodness of God throughout the entire season. Several things are on the plate during summer. First, we are prepping for another exciting Vacation Bible School program, which will kick off on June 20th through 22nd and have its final celebration on Sunday the 26th. In the following month, on July 24th, we will also have our parish's paternal festival, which is Saint James’ Sunday. Then, on the Outreach end, we will host a fantastic health fair for our entire community, done in conjunction with Prairie View University, on August 6. Headed by our Senior Warden, Gloria Rose, the health fair will be an excellent opportunity to dive deeper into our relationship with our surrounding community, provide resources for them, and show concern for their health. All the events in the summer will be significant opportunities for our entire parish family. So, when you add all of this up with what you are going to be doing throughout the summer, it promises to be a terrific, action-packed summer, one in which we will experience the power of God in so many different ways.
That said, as you embrace this season, I want you to consider doing three things this summer in order to be fully present to what God has for you. Those three things are pause, pray, and position yourself.
Pause. This means it's time just to take a break. The schedule has been hectic for so long, and you've been doing so many different things, oftentimes running yourself into the ground. Hit the pause button this summer. Take time to smell the flowers, feel the grass beneath your feet, laugh with friends, and enjoy life. Mozart once said, "The silence between the notes is as important as the notes themselves." In other words, give attention to the pause. Psalm 46:10, puts it another way: "Be Still and Know that I am God." And so, taking an opportunity to power down at some point during the summer will refresh our batteries and get us ready for the next phase in what God has for us later. So, pause.
Pray. What else can be said about it? Well, a lot can be said. As you move through summer, take time to get into some good conversations with the Almighty. Talk to God. More importantly, listen to God. He still speaks in our times of prayer. He still comforts us in our times of need. Therefore, take some time out to have a conversation with God. You might say, "I never know if I'm praying correctly. I never know if I am doing it right. How do I know?" The "doing it right" is not in perfect execution, but instead in just the simple desire to want to talk to God. You are going to stumble over your words. You are going to repeat yourself. You're even going to say things that sound silly to you when you reflect on them. That's okay, I do the same thing every day. Consider this: Jesus' High Priestly prayer in John chapter 17 is extended, repetitive, and meandering. If Jesus had submitted that prayer for a liturgy class in your average Episcopal Seminary, he would have received a failing grade. Yet, it was the proper prayer for that moment. His prayer was perfect for that occasion. And guess what? So is your prayer. No one is grading it. So, just talk to Him. And, you know, when we do that, something interesting takes place. When we speak, He listens. Then, when we are quiet, after saying all of our words, He speaks in our hearts. Amazing! So, pray.
Position yourself. Get ready for God to do something new in you, around you, and through you. God is doing something new every day for us. But, just like we have to be physically ready to catch when something is tossed to us, we must be spiritually prepared to receive what God is throwing our way. As Jesus said in Matthew 11:15, "Whoever has ears, let them hear." Are you ready? Are you positioned? Everyone has suggestions on how to do this; you can find loads of information about placing yourself to be blessed by God. But I think the most necessary element to be positioned is to be in a state of trust. Just trust God. The scriptures say in Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This is true. Trust Him.
Then, Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”
This is true as well. And there are 202 other verses in the Bible where God calls us to trust in Him. So, position yourself by reading the verses on trust, even praying those verses.
Know this, God is with you, and Jesus loves you more than you know. So, enjoy the summer as you are refreshed by our Lord.