It seems we are now enjoying some lovely summer weather and we are looking
forward to Monday and the new freedoms it will bring us, even although they
may be cautious ones. One great joy will be singing in church again.
We have been living through a long winter, both physically and in our hearts and
will we know what to do with this summer season? Summer usually brings
vitality, connectedness, rest. The opposite of winter—where God and friends feel
distant and death and darkness close at hand—in the summer of the heart, God
and others draw intimately near, light and life surround us. The heart in summer
is a taste of the kingdom of God, a savoury morsel of heaven, sweet and brief,
where God, fully present, shines light day and night, and that light affects and
blesses all those it touches.
The prophet Zechariah describes the summer of the heart as a city, Jerusalem.
He was writing to a people who are returning and rebuilding their lives after
decades in exile, prisoners of war, and so we too are rebuilding our lives after
what seems like an exile, and long also for a new summer of the heart.
As I said, summer is a foretaste of the feast to come, a kingdom that is now but
not yet. That’s summer. What are we to do, when we are blessed to find
ourselves in it?
1. Do enjoy: play, rest, enjoy God and others, without reserve and without
apology. Many of us carry a residue of Protestant angst, that makes us feel guilty
when we really enjoy ourselves, yet, we have a Saviour whose first miracle was
to turn water into wine for no greater reason than that the party might go on.
2. Don’t rush: Kingdom living is not hurried. Some of us may feel the pressure
to rush around now arranging reunions and weddings and parties and holidays.
This summer once we have been released from our long winter that may be a
temptation too. To fit it all in. To say yes to everything we are asked of, whether
we are called to it or not. But, in this summer of your heart, don’t be tempted
to fill up your calendar, remember some of the slower pace of life which we
became accustomed to because of the circumstances of the past 16 months and
continue to find that peace in which the presence of God is vivid and real.
3. Delight in abundance: in the summertime of the heart, God’s blessings are
clear and many and can fill you with joy. Delight in and continue to treasure the
gifts of summer, in our gardens, parks and countryside. For consumerism—the
sin always around the corner in our culture—will try to convince you, even in
summer, to chase what you lack instead of enjoy what you have. But we are
called to a form of living in summer that instead of craving and complaining, is
about giving and thanksgiving. Delight. Give thanks in summer.
4. Finally, continue to hydrate: resting and playing are good in summer. But one
thing any coach will tell you—it applies to sports as well as spiritual life – drink
enough water! That is, nourish your life of prayer and the Word. As the psalmist
says, ‘our souls thirst for the living God, and ask’ (even in summer) ‘when can we
meet with God’ in prayer and worship, service and praise.
Summer is a foretaste of the feast to come. The kingdom of God near, for a
And the beauty is when the hearts summer comes to you, recognise it, enjoy it,
slow down, soak it up, delight in the abundance, continue to connect to God’s
word. Give thanks for this season and the opportunity it gives us to praise God,
enjoy his creation and open up our winter souls to the light. We need this more