On this grey raining Summer’s day, may I wish you every blessing for a Happy Summer Soltice. Mind you, it is downhill all the way now to Christmas, the nights will start to draw in and the world has turned another seasonal corner. Will we in Aberdeen notice? I doubt it…
Even though it is officially now Summer our Church’s year is a very strange one. Liturgically, all has gone quiet now and we begin in many respects the ‘fallow’ part of our calendar. And so for us in ministry it is that weird ‘winter in summer’ period. While everyone else is usually on holiday over Christmas and Easter, these are the busy times for those in ministry. During the summer, however, it is a period to rest and reflect on what we have done over the year past and what we will do better in the year ahead.
And so the Universities are finishing with graduations this week – congratulations to all students who will be moving on from one stage of their life journey to the next. Don’t worry, real life with jobs and mortgages isn’t as scary as it seems – you will survive and may even enjoy it! The school’s are winding down for the long summer break ahead and parents are desperately scratching their heads, wondering what to do with their kids that is cheap over the long holiday weeks. Elsewhere, those, who can afford to, are packing their cases, eagerly anticipating and counting down the sleeps for a couple of weeks rest and renewal in the sun, somewhere, anywhere.
And in the churches it is the same. People go on holiday so numbers will be down. There are no key liturgical festivals to prepare for and so we await to greet the odd ‘grockle’ (tourist) who arrives on our doors looking for a vaguely recognisable Anglican service whilst they visit our grey rainy shores. Life goes quiet and there is a simple kind of peace that descends during this season of rest.
But as we all know the busy time will come again. Plotting for Freshers week has begun, Autumn term school assemblies, lessons prepared for and services planned. Sermons written, hymns chosen and prayers prayed. Even during the quiet time, there is still preparatory work to be done and the Church’s ministry to the faithful flock continued. Life and God’s service never ends.
I dream about retiring sometimes, of being able to end the madness and alight from the ministry merry-go-round. But I know that I would miss having the rhythm of my year to sustain me. I enjoy the busy times but, dear reader, my goodness me I need the restful periods as well. We all do. So in whatever plans you have for the next couple of months, I pray that you will get some rest whether it is enjoying the 24hour food on the Cruise ship, sunning your white bits in Spain or, as we will be doing, visiting the relatives to check they are all still breathing.
I will try to blog during this rest-filled time, as, sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing (apart from chocolate)…