By Edward Goode,
A Sacred Summer
Is it ok for me to say that the summer of 2020 sucked? To say that it wasn’t the best really is an understatement. “Sucked” seems like a perfectly appropriate word. There were all the “macro” things going on – pandemic, racial unrest, and protests, the incredibly divisive and difficult election cycle that we couldn’t get away from – all this on top of everything else that “normally” happens in our world. The pandemic, however, affected so many other things – weddings that had to be rescheduled, postponed, or radically changed. Funerals that were only for a small group of the closest family members, churches that were only gathering online, So, summer of 2020 sucked.
Fast forward to early 2021. Lilly Lewin, Joanna Cummings, Ginny Olson, and I started looking back at 2020 and then looking ahead to summer 2021 and decided that we needed a different “S-word” for the upcoming summer. No not that “S-word”… A different one.
Stop for a moment and read that word again.
Maybe read it out loud with a deep breath on either side of your speaking it.
After all the times of talking about how the summer of 2020 (in fact most of 2020 it feels like) sucked, we really felt that we needed to work on how we could make the time ahead truly…
Isn’t that a beautiful word?
How does it make you feel when you read it? See it? Speak it? Hear it?
For me, it feels like one of those cool misters that you walk through somewhere on a brutally hot August afternoon. Suddenly, the heat goes away and refreshment and renewal spring forth.
So we began to explore different ideas of what would make a summer sacred. Rest… Gratitude… Justice… Nature… Play… Silence… Love… Create. We also brought in Grief to acknowledge and honor what had been lost in the preceding summer that wasn’t so sacred.
It was beautiful to explore these themes in the congregation where I serve as pastor. Some of the most significant moments came as I sat around a circle with seven others and introduced them to Lectio Divina while another group simply spent time talking with one another and a third drew, colored, and painted – all practices of sacred rest. Another night, plans were all laid out until a family situation arose for me and one of the participants jumped in and seamlessly led a discussion of what sacred justice means in our journeys of faith. And from our gratitude week, our wall of post-it gratitudes continues to grow!
But maybe the most meaningful point for me came at the end when we took time to Create. In starting out, several in the group shared that they didn’t feel they were very creative. They shared how they were creative as kids but as the years passed, their creativity waned. What was beautiful was what happened next. We gathered around a table, each starting with a blank page. I invited each to sit in stillness for a few minutes and then to write down the first word about God that came to them. After they were finished, I asked them to pass their page to the person on their left who would then respond with whatever came to their hearts. This continued all the way around the table until we each got our original pages back. It was beautiful to see the different creative expressions that emerged.
So, here’s how this becomes more than just a report of what one church did. In this post are some of the creative expressions that emerged. Print off one (or all) of them and reflect on what you would add? What picture would you draw? What color comes to your heart and mind? What other words express what is stirring?
Even though summer is winding down as kids are going back to school (although the heat doesn’t feel like we’re anywhere close to Autumn yet), the sacred-ness of this time is still with us.
Beyond just Create, each of the themes of a sacred summer can become practices for a sacred Autumn or Winter. In fact, each theme is a part of the life of faith. Each day can be a day of gratitude, rest, love, justice, and so forth. Each day is…
The next session of Facebook Live with Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin is September 8, 2021! Join us at 9am PST on the Godspace Light Community Group on Facebook. If you missed the last session, check out the recording on YouTube.