Posts Tagged ‘Poems’

Ministry in Summer

Sometimes I don’t know what to do with summer in the church.  One would think it would be easy living:  no Christmas or Easter preparations, committee meetings taking a summer break, and so on.  Just relaxing and waiting for September.  Yet if one is wise (and I’m unwise more often than I would like to admit), one will spend the summer days preparing for the next Christmas and Easter and the other busy seasons.

And then there’s the task of holding people’s interest (sorry to be so blunt about it) over Sunday after Sunday with no Christmas carols, no special decorations, no children’s choir … just plodding through sermons as sunshine beckons outside.  Maybe holding my own interest is an issue!

Perhaps there’s more to waiting than plodding, or doing nothing … perhaps waiting is a work in and of itself.  R.S. Thomas, a priest in the Church of England, wrote about the priest’s summer as a time of waiting.

Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great rôle. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.

Read the whole poem and some commentary at

Summer isn’t calm for everyone.  Our church owns a summer camp, and we are also close to a number of farms.  For the vine grower, the farmer, the orchardist, summer is a time of waiting, but also a time of bearing fruit.  At the camp, summer can be very fruitful in the spiritual/personal development of the campers as well as staff.  I wonder what fruit we, who are addicted to being busy, can bear during long summer days?