Back when I was a school teacher I loved June-August for many reasons. I never taught summer school because those few weeks were an amazing opportunity to spend time with my own children. Lots of family “field-trips”, state parks, bike rides, beaches, the neighbor’s pool, museums, board games, books, picnics… and very little in the way of television.
Then Rebekah would try to take three weeks of her vacation in one block and we’d travel – extensively and on the cheap. Here are some of the more memorable family trips:
- The “heritage tour” to the UK when Naomi and Andrew were eight and ten…
- Washington, D.C. and all the state capitols on the east coast…
- Our Civil War Battlefields bike tour – four bicycles strapped to the back of one minivan (we watched the entire Ken Burns Civil War documentary over two months prior to the trip)…
- The epic 7,000 mile drive to New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and back to see the Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Arches National Parks – and more…
- Several weeks at a beach house on Pensacola’s Santa Rosa Island
- Appalachian Mountain hiking; a bucket of crabs and some nutcrackers in Maryland; innumerable state park cabins… and the Alaska Cruise from Seattle that marked the end of the “family of four” era as Naomi met Craig and a new family was launched….
Anyway… point being that summer has always worked well for us as an opportunity for recalibration, restoration, reinvention and re-creation. Having Andrew and Naomi living at home helped us to be more deliberate about crafting and enjoying those kinds of experiences.
Today we are out of the loop of school calendars, spring breaks and the long summer stretch. Except, that is in terms of church, and that is where this summer is already budding with the beginnings of promise.
First Presbyterian of Brandon is already reconstructing our physical facilities – so why not the folk who worship here too? We’re not the kind of congregation that closes programs down for the summer, mothballs Christian Education, or runs anything at half speed – but we do try to encourage folk to change-up some of their routines and try something new.
Consequently, and in light of the fact that half the campus is under construction, the Discipleship Ministry Team is offering a smorgasbord of mid-week learning opportunities that I’m really looking forward to.
So yesterday I joined a group of 12 for week-one of a month-long seminar on Paul’s journeys through Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians and Philippians. The instructor is our resident New Testament scholar, Charles Willard. Charles is a PhD with a lifetime of experience in ministry, grace and academia… including accreditation for post-graduate programs in theological education.
I’m citing all that academic mumbo-jumbo to underline my point that summer reinvention needn’t be lightweight or shallow. The primary purpose – so far as I plan to experience it – is refreshment and renewal. This leaves us (at my latest count) with a list of six most excellent “r”-words. So I’ll repeat them below, along with the following recommendation. Take some time to think seriously about what each word/concept might potentially mean for you, especially when it comes to making plans for the coming weeks: