And so summer begins...
Today was a stunning day in the Berkshires: sun without much humidity, rest (after worship) with loved ones and a chance to prepare a small feast with my dear daughter. I was blessed. And so summer begins in this part of the USA even though it is a full month away on the calendar. There are three things we'll be doing this summer:
+ Starting next week, we begin a summer worship series called: The Top 7 Stories/Ideas of the New and Old Testaments. 14 weeks of reclaiming key stories about human nature, the heart of God and why we need a common language to grow deeper in the Spirit. Next week I will kick things off with a conversation about the Holy Trinity using John 3. I am convinced that the doctrine/story of the Trinity not only speaks to us about God's mysterious and loving nature, but also models for us how the Lord comes to us and reveals the essence of grace.
+ In later June and early July we head to our adopted sister city, Montreal, for the Jazz Festival. We'll be totally chill walking about, speaking/misunderstanding French and letting go of our usual commitments as part of our annual ritual of renewal. In late August, we'll make another little trip to explore what the land offers in a one hour circle around the core of Montreal in order to explore potential retirement locales. Our dream is to spend time above the "medicine line" in a French area to relearn the language and explore the culture.
+ And throughout the summer we'll be making a ton of fun music: Between the Banks will be in full swing at church throughout the summer and the Jazz Ambassadors will be doing Patrick's Pub, too. Next week, for Trinity Sunday, we've got a contemporary version of the Beatles' "The Word" set - we'll take the next week off for some brewskis and conversation about the summer - and then it is full steam ahead with jazz, rock, folk, alternative and some of our own compositions, too.
After worship today, I am more certain than ever that our small, gentle commitment to offering a compassionate alternative to the bottom-line/market-driven culture of this era is what God is inviting to embrace in spades. Like Joan Chittister once wrote:
We have been asked to (join God) in filling up the emptiness and healing the brokenness in which most of live by offering sensible, humane, whole and accessible spiritual options to a people who are overworked, overstimulated and over scheduled... this includes reclaiming depth in a world given over almost entirely to the superficial and the tinny... and sharing a standard of living that is not addicted to the quick fixes and gimmicks of the status quo.
As we said before coming to this sweet and challenging place five years ago: Whatever we do has to be fun - it has to emphasis God's joy and grace - and it has to build real community or we're done. Well, it is clear that we've got some joy and grace and fun to share in community as we go deeper into the life, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord. Tomorrow we'll feast with our daughters and their loved ones... and then let the summer begin! (This song ALWAYS screams summer to me - and the hip hop verse speaks of the mission of this moment, too - so dig it!)