As the temperature continues to rise around us, we become keenly aware that we are entering the depths of summer. Along with a different temperature, there is a different rhythm to these months, which is not to say that each day will look much different from our other days, but there is an overall distinctive feeling. Much of our days will look the same as they always do in February or October, but there will be some days that will look very different.
We will travel and we will rest during these months, which will take us away from this place, where we worship and serve, for a few days here and there. There is something to be gained from getting away. We find many opportunities latent in travel, as we gather elsewhere beside the ocean, around a picnic table, or with family and friends. Away from this place, we find discovery and renewal in a similar, but different way, than we find it in this place.
When we are packing our bags, getting ready to leave town for a few days, we can be sure to take some of this place with us. This does not mean we need to pack a hymnal or bulletin; we can simply take with us the same attentiveness that this place fosters inside of us. We can go from this place to our other places with the same attention to the presence of God that is cultivated within us when we gather here.
If we take that with us, along with our sense of journey and faith, we can discover the presence of God in new ways, broadening our spirits, as we go. We can look through the stained-glass of this world, watching the waves wash up against the beach and widening our souls to the Spirit of God. We can find the presence of God as we gather around other tables with family we have known for years or with people from other places, who are different from us. We can engage in prayerful conversations with God, others, and even ourselves, which we struggle to have in the normal busyness of our days.
We can find Sabbath, as we go, which can renew us and calls us back to what is at the heart of “who we are” as people of faith and followers of Jesus. We might begin to notice needs around us, or we might hold a magnifying glass over the joys of our lives. As we go, we can take some of this place with us, and we can also bring back some of what we find to this place. For as we go, we always take the church with us because we are the church, a people more than a place. We bring back with us what we see and what we gain by going away. Traveling mercies as we go, and we look forward to gathering here again on the Lord’s Day as well.