We have a lot of metaphors about the passage of time. As we enter the month of August, I feel as if this summer has flown by. It seems as if I was sitting at the services of Recognition, Commissioning, and Ordination just a few days ago, rather than two months ago. I think the Steve Miller Band sums it up best in their classic hit, Fly Like an Eagle. “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.”
It seems especially true in the summer. Maybe it’s a hangover from school days. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in June, July, and August to do all the things we want. When I was a child, my sister and I attended camp for four to six weeks. August was our time in Columbus with four of my father’s siblings. One of my aunts lived around the corner from the Ohio State Fair.
So for me, the dog days of August are synonymous with carnival rides, blue-ribbon contests, my aunt searching for the secret guest which was the annual newspaper contest, and of course church. In addition to her weekly job as a baker for Lazarus Department store, my Aunt Clairette was a minister. She served with another pastor at Grace Church.
We attended church every Wednesday evening for prayer meetings and Sunday all day for worship, picnics, and other events. My uncle usually led the prayers with my aunt sharing a message or meeting people at the altar to say a special prayer or welcome them into the faith community. Sundays, church was where it all happened. (This was before grocery stores, restaurants and other establishments were allowed to be open.)
My favorite events were the Usher’s dinner, the all-church picnic, and the choir exchange between my aunt’s church and a sister church in greater Columbus. So, my summers were very busy. My sister and I would return home just in time to go school shopping for new clothes and supplies. No real time to rest, but back then it was fun to be that busy and do so many things over the span of just 12 weeks.
This summer has flown by. I started it returning to my Sabbath routine of movies and bookstore time. Shopping for craft supplies has been like a breath of fresh air. And though I haven’t attended any outdoor concerts or events, I have been able to enjoy barbequed ribs a few times. But maybe because I’ve tried to squeeze so much of what I missed last summer into these past 3 months, the time has truly slipped into the future.
Fall is just around the corner. Many in the state are planning for that last trip up north this year. Others are returning from extended camping trips. I don’t know if our children will be excited or anxious to return to in-person classes. I wonder how teachers are feeling too.
This is also the time that most churches begin their Fall programs. I hope there is a sense of excitement as we dream about what is possible, just next month. Could we be planning how we will continue to learn about our Lord through Bible Studies, share our hopes and dreams in prayer time and shake the rust off our voices in choir rehearsals? Will we be ready to continue our missions that took a brief summer hiatus? Or are we preparing to plant new seeds to reach more people? During our annual church conferences, I want to hear how our Lord continues to shape our lives and our service in His name. May we be blessed in all we do for one another. And Amens