Saturday, May 24, 2014

God and Summer

It’s that time of year again when parents grit their teeth in anxiety over the next three months. School will be over in a few days, and that means THE KIDS HAVE NOTHING TO DO! With both parents working in most families, and especially in single-parent families, finding activities to keep young children involved and, maybe most importantly for the youngest of our children, SAFE, during the day can be quite the nerve-wracking experience. Compound this with the reality that most families no longer live in communities where they grew up, and the lack of extended families doesn’t even allow for grandparents to help. So parents begin to panic…


And then the Church “goes and makes things worse” by actually ending the various programs and ministries for youth. I’ve been in youth ministry for just over twenty years, and I could never understand the mentality, “School is over, now we end the Church programs.” Sunday School ends, Greek School ends (if you are part of a Greek community like I have always been), even youth groups tend to limit their activities during the summer months. You would think Churches would have MORE programs rather than less during the months when youth have no school. But that is not the topic of this post.

This post is about something bigger than whether or not youth groups have scheduled activities during the summer. This post is about an even more dangerous trend. This post is about the trend of taking “time off” from Church as if Church and School are only nine month activities. Of course, the lack of Sunday School plays a role in this phenomenon, because many families “only” come to Church if their children have Sunday School class to attend. You see this also during “Christmas Break” where Church attendance slips for a few weeks following Christmas.

So how can we include God in our summer plans? We have to begin with whether or not we actually include Him in our fall, winter and spring plans. I want to be clear….simply attending Church on Sunday doesn’t necessarily mean you are including God in your life. The Orthodox Way of Life PRESUMES that each day is spent living in communion with God through a life of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the sacramental life of the Church. Are you attending confession regularly? Are you regularly reading the Holy Scriptures and writings of the Fathers and Mothers of the Church? Is prayer a constant part of your life? See my post on “The Orthodox Top 10” and ask yourself, “Am I living in communion with God or simply being what has been called a ‘pew warmer’ in Church?”

You see summer is really no different than any other season except for the weather. Including God in your summer plans is the same as including Him in your winter plans. Attending Church on Sunday AND ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in the Sunday Liturgy by preparing for AND RECEIVING Holy Communion is a part of that life – a central part – but a part. 

No comments: