On Pastor Katie’s Mind…
I think of August as a “sleepy month” in the best sense; a month when people can hopefully take a break, get some rest, go on vacation. Of course, vacation is a luxury that many people don’t have. So it’s important to remember this and support one another to take breaks from work and also to work toward a world where everyone has a chance to rest. August is usually a hot month too and heat slows us down and may even depress us a little (like it does me) and remind us of global warming and the importance of caring for our earth. It also reminds us that our work sometimes needs to slow down. Sabbath is not just an invitation, it’s a commandment. And if we never cease our laboring then we are not honoring God’s gift, and we forget that our work is in God’s care. Growth and fruitfulness are not ours to control but ultimately belongs to God.
Slowing down, resting, retreating is also important in the life of the church. We need time during the year when we can pull back and gain new vision and perspective for the months ahead. In August, I am planning an overnight retreat at a Franciscan Center, to spend time alone in prayer and seek God’s wisdom as I reflect on the direction of our congregation for the fall. August seems like the right time to do this.
It’s good for all of us to find some time to stop, and in a restful space, ask ourselves some meaningful questions like:
- What do I want to do with my life in the next few months?
- Where and with whom do I want to spend time?
- What’s important to me?
- And, how can I be intentional in creating time to do the things that are important to me?
So what I’d like to do is to invite you to take some time in August to ask yourself some of these questions, whether you are on vacation or not. Take some time to step back and pray, to listen to the Spirit’s calling in your life.
It may not be the case, but it may be—that what the Spirit is calling you to do connects to our work and worship at Tab. On our Visitor Cards that we hand out to new visitors every week, we ask “What do you love to do? and “Have you done any of those things in church?” I always appreciate it when people answer these questions. We hear responses like, “I love to bake,” “play the harp,” “sing and dance,” “help people,” or “protest injustice.” And many people say that they have done these things in church, but many have not even considered that what they love to do and what they are gifted to do, can be a part of the church’s ministry! What if what brings us joy is also part of the work of the church? Imagine what that could look like!
Who knows, maybe after taking some time to rest and reflect you will hear that the Spirit wants you to share your gifts at Tab in a way you had not considered before. Or maybe there is a ministry that we are already working on at Tab that you feel a greater call to connect with—like our prison ministry group, or teaching Sunday school to our kids, or volunteering for hospitality by being a coffee hour host or a greeter, by joining a small group or helping lead a support group. I don’t know what that thing is for you, but I do know it is important to listen to what God has gifted you to do and to carve out time to do things that bring you joy, with a community of people who are longing for the same things: to love and follow Jesus, and to work toward the Reign of God, a reign of justice and kindness.
So I encourage you to take time to rest and reflect in August. Take time to pray. Listen for God’s voice. It is important not just for your sake but for God’s sake, and for the sake of our community in which you play a sacred part.