As I have looked back at my Thursday Thoughts posts before I wrote this one, I have realized the issue of seasons and rhythm has been at the forefront of most of them for the past month or so. Maybe it is a mid-life issue, not sure but it could be.
But as I wrote the initial sermon this week for my upcoming sermon series “A Faith For All Seasons and A God Of All Seasons” I suddenly realized that I had an subconscious pattern (rhythm ?) of seasons that I operate by and out of which my expectations are influenced.
It is guided or influenced by, I think, the school year, which makes sense because I am the father to two secondary school students. In some ways it is the total opposite of the agricultural rhythm that is equally predominate in my community.
But what has really given me a surprise are the unspoken expectations that I have had about each season. The rhythm part I am beginning to study and understand but as I thought about it I realized that the fall season is my spring when the ground (schedule) is being prepped and seeds for a new school year, and church year too are being sowed. Winter is, in some ways, my summer as I ” somewhat” rest and wait on the harvest to take place in spring.
The harvest is at one level a successful school year for my kids and also a successful ministry year in which I expect, as we slow down for summer, is a time for growth in faith for those who encounter the Lord through our congregational ministry. I say ‘slow down for summer,’ as I have found that after Spring Break, the involvement level for our kids and teens (and their parents, as a result) changes as sports and other things move outside. This year the late Easter date really challenged schedules as school events completed with final rehearsals for the Easter play. Summer then becomes a time of hibernation and renewal as I step back and prepare for another season.
But behind all of this are expectations which assume spiritual growth will naturally occur and things will be ‘larger’ and ‘better’ than in the fall.
But that is not always the case. The ‘Spirit blows where it wills’ and yet attention to the tilling, planting, nurturing, and harvesting matters ever so much.
Still on a journey with all of this and trusting the Spirit to guide in all of this and make clear what needs to be made clear.
These are my Thursday thoughts.