Faith & Values
The amount of daylight we have this time of year is incredible. It is hard to beat an early morning walk with the dog while watching the sunrise. I’m not sure how much the dog appreciates our early morning romps. While he can hardly wait to get home and go back to bed, nature is in full praise.
Birds are madly chirping and gardens are ablaze in reds, corals and blues. I keep telling myself, this is just amazing! Perhaps it was on such a sun-drenched clear morning that the Psalmist wrote, only a fool would say there is no God.
This month is full of occasions to celebrate: graduations, weddings, Father’s Day, Juneteenth and the solstice. The solstice celebrates the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer.
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Juneteenth recognizes the day, June 19, 1865, that word finally got to the slaves in Texas that they were free men and women. There obviously was no social networking in that day since it took 2½ years for word of freedom to get to the slaves. A more cynical mind would think that 30 months of free labor was the rationale for keeping freedom under wraps.
So whether you choose to celebrate freedom, fathers, education or the sun, pick one or two special days that speak to your heart and plan a soiree.
We must be intentional about celebrating life and the goodness of God. There is so much bad news that we can easily think the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It is nearly impossible to read a newspaper or watch the news without hearing about a murder, bullying, a building or bridge collapsing, tornadoes or wildfires.
Yet our faith tells us that miracles happen every day. God is actively engaged in the lives of God’s people. It is a miracle when love brings two hearts together. Miracles happen when educational achievements are reached despite the odds. When finances come together, and there is enough money to pay all the bills, that is a miracle too!
The coming week’s summer solstice marks the beginning of a season that we long for. Warm temperatures, outdoor eating and vacations are hallmarks of this time of year.
It would be a shame to keep the same old routines and miss the gift of God’s summer creation.
Calendars are a great tool for ordering our lives, but there is danger in filling each day so completely that there is no room for rest, creativity or God.
In music, the rests are just as important as the notes that are played or sung. In sports, time outs are critical to refocus and make strategy adjustments for winning.
Social media is great for keeping in touch, but Twitter, Facebook and texting don’t take the place of face-to-face conversations with loved ones and friends. We must make space for one another and space for God.
When we slow down to celebrate the everyday miracles of life, we have time to refocus our priorities. Will completing all the to-do’s on the calendar help us achieve our personal goals and keep us in sync with God’s plan for our lives? If not, that is one less thing that needs to be on the calendar!
Just like seasons throughout the year, there are seasons in our lives: joy, sorrow, uncertainty, new life and death. No season lasts forever. Even when our hearts are breaking, joy will come again.
We must savor the summer seasons of life measured by good health, abundant love, meaningful work and soul-satisfying rest.
We need time to catch our breath and heal. So today, stop, smell the roses and celebrate life.
The Rev. Patricia L. Hunter is an associate in ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church and senior benefits consultant for American Baptist Churches in the USA. Readers may send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org