Summertime, an' the livin' is easy

By the Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin

Summertime, an' the livin' is easy... -Ira Gershwin

Yes, there are still jobs to perform, meals to cook, groceries to buy, and bills to pay. The normal responsibilities and duties of life do not disappear during summer. But life does take on a different rhythm during these coming months. This is true in the life of the Church, as well: our liturgical schedule is simplified; the choir and church school teachers get a well-deserved rest; fewer meetings take place; and we spend the months of summer - in the season known variously as Pentecost, Ordinary Time or the Time of the Church - pondering how we live as God's beloved people in the normal routines and rounds of life.

And yet, summer does afford many of us the chance to relax a bit more; to be refreshed and re-created, in the real meaning of that word, by God's renewing Spirit. And will you indulge me as I suggest a few ways to let that reviving presence work in us and through us?

  • Read a really cheesy novel without apology. Do it on the train in front of others.
  • Have a malted. Not a milkshake: an honest-to-goodness thick, chocolate malted made the old fashioned way. You'll thank me.
  • Rent Kolya, a Czech movie from a few years ago. Experience a particular take on redemption and love.
  • Take a picnic to Ravinia for some fabulous music.
  • A dog and suds at Mustard's Last Stand. You know you want to.
  • Attend the early Eucharist at the local Episcopal Church wherever you find yourself on the road. Introduce yourself to the Rector. Brag shamelessly to her about Holy Comforter. Bring me a bulletin. Go in your jeans, while you're at it.
  • Pull over and watch a couple innings of a Little League ball game, even if - especially if - you don't know any of the players. Root for the kids wearing the blue uniforms.
  • Forget War and Peace. Read Pride and Prejudice instead. This goes for you too, guys. Especially you.
  • Visit the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the Art Institute.
  • Watch more of the Olympics than you really have time for. When else will you get to watch such beauty and elegance, regardless of the event?
  • Come to Church even when you can easily come up with seven reasons not to. Sit at least four rows or pews away from where you normally sit.
  • Homer's Ice cream. Need I say more?
  • Take a hike. Literally.
  • Go fly a kite. Again, literally.
  • Try to break par on a miniature golf course. Harder than you think. In fact, almost impossible. Bring me the score card to prove you did it.
  • Call up an old college friend you haven't seen for years.

• Every day - at home, on vacation, walking through Harms Woods, at Holy Comforter, when putting the kids to bed - give thanks to God for all that is lovely and true and gracious and holy.

And may God restore and replenish your spirit with God's own comforting Spirit---