The other day I noticed one of our neighbor church’s front sign which read, “God doesn’t take a summer vacation from you.” Many of you know that I have a real hesitancy towards catchy signs. I am constantly worried about the perceptions of those who are driving by and how will they receive the message. Like all communication signs are a two way street. While our intention may be to be funny and to catch people’s attention we run the risk that the one who is reading may construe it as condescending or judgmental. I think that this sign is actually aimed towards those in side the Christian community. I believe the intention of the sign is to remind people that just because summer comes the Church doesn’t close. It’s a reminder that our duty and the honor of worshiping God in Christ is no less than during the school year.
The has me thinking about the ebb and flow of the school year. Each year we are reminded by the school to keep our children engaged in the learning process. The school and library have multiple programs to keep children on the learning track. This is all intended to ensure that our children don’t lose part of the knowledge that they have worked for throughout the school year. Of course all of the programs are accompanied by an incentive of some sort. There is a reward for the child to remain engaged in learning.
I think there is an important connection between what we see in the educational system and what happens in our faith life. The reformed tradition recognizes that our faith is one that is continually in development. Each experience, situation and lesson helps to build our understanding of our relationship with God. How often have we allowed our faith to be like a kid in summer? Have we neglected our f
aith and not engaged in the practices which help to sustain and build it?
This summer I hope that you will take opportunities to experience new and vital parts of your faith. While at Christ Presbyterian Church we consolidate our worship into one service at 10 am it is important for your faith development to be in community with God and the congregation. I hope and pray that during your summer travels you would make time to worship in a local congregation and when your home I look forward to seeing you with your family here at Christ Presbyterian. Like the summer reading programs there is a reward to be gained. No, we aren’t awarding gold medals or coupon books for ice cream. I believe that during this summer we will receive a blessing of deeper community. I used to have an issue with going to one service. In the past I saw it as a practical decision and not necessarily a good spiritual practice. This year I have come to appreciate that one service not only ensures that we will have a larger “crowd” but that we also are able to reconnect our community that sometimes gets fragmented by our two service Sunday morning. I hope that you will take time during this summer to connect with people you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t think I have met you.” If you don’t know them, there is a good change that they don’t know who you are.
I would also like to throw down a challenge to our congregation. Perhaps it can be seen as the Christ Presbyterian Church summer reading program. Over the next two months I am encouraging our members and friends to read the four Gospels from start to finish. In most translations the four Gospels are less than 200 pages. This can be done as an individual or a family. Maybe you can sit down before a meal or at bedtime and share the Scriptures with your children. I will have a section on my blog (www.pastor.cpcfairfax.org) for you to share your experiences and discoveries. You are also encouraged to send me an email to let me know you have taken on this challenge so I can pray for you as you walk the journey into the Word.