Seeing Refreshment

Summer is blazing away here, with temperatures rising perilously close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On these kinds of days, a certain listlessness sets in. We have terms that reflect this, such as “summer doldrums”. “Doldrums” is borrowed directly from a nautical term describing a windless area in which sailing vessels flounder and languish.

In the stock market, trading volumes drop as investors heed the old adage “Sell in May and go away”. School is out, leaving just a skeleton crew of secretaries and teachers doing inventory; The vast empty parking lots are almost spooky reminders of the activities that will resume again in just a few weeks.

In many churches, a seasonal ebb is also noted. The pews are emptier. The choir is gone for the summer. The A-team of church leaders (the senior pastor / rector / bishop / head priest / etc) are often away on vacation, leaving church business and Sunday services in the hands of their assistants.

However, this is not the whole story. There is another way to view summer. Summer is also a time of refreshment. Beads of condensation slide delightfully down the smooth glassy curves of a piƱa colada, or of an icy lemonade. Pools and beaches are great places to cool off and splash around. Pigs grunt and artisans sell woven goods at summer fairs. Vacation trips allow us to travel the cities and markets of the world, or to marvel at the natural wonders of rivers, oceans, mountains and canyons.

There you have it: Two ways of looking at a season–one positive and one negative. This brings me to a point about the power of perception. I have in memory a title of a book I read in the 1990s. Unfortunately the title is about all I remember, because it was so awesome: The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, by Thomas Moore.

For all its otherworldliness and dedication to the things of God, Christianity is much about reenchanting this life with a new perspective.

Enjoy your summer. May it be for you a time of refreshment

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