It’s the Friday before the beginning of a long, quiet summer here in Portland. An energetic warm wind carries this quiet campus around like a sun-blasted kid aboard for a piggy-back, darting in and out of it’s once normal semester sounds, now opting for a milder laughter…one that can he heard on the air, not simply in it.
Most of the undergrad and many of the Seminary students have either already packed up and headed back home, or are doing just that come tomorrow afternoon. It’s a beautiful thing to think that God lovingly scatters this campus, these lives, these kids (myself included) for a season…a kind of intentional, tailor-made season of exodus from the familiars of life…in this case school. God does this for a number of reasons, most of which are so draped in His will that I will never fully understand their depth and grace. But among the reasons, I feel it is done in an effort to grow us all apart from one another. Just Him and us.
Ironically as I listened in to a number of people’s prospective summers, they might be filled with more obligation, less rest and even more chaos than the semesters brought. Even still…it is a chance to be challenged in chaos, have your life made into parable as your sift through endless obligation, and perhaps conquer exhaustion’s ceaseless pull…all alongside God’s particular getaway with you.
As we started scattering this afternoon I started to think about all we might do this summer… We will sit beneath His sun this summer for hours, letting His healing warmth snug our skin. We will find grass and shade and take in the sheer smells of the Gospel. We will be blissfully uncreative and find 21st century watering holes, either as pools, lakes or oceans, and just wade in the wisdom of His perpetual wave and wakes…being nothing more than spent far beyond ourselves. We will be awakened by glorious undertones of summer’s heraled passtime as sunflower seeds, baseball and naps once again slow us down in all the right ways. Some of us will get sunburned…Some will enter into God’s summer-sensuality, braving the motivations that inspire us to want to be someone’s someone…Some of us will make some hard earned money in an effort to counter our ever looming school debt…Others will profit the soul by volunteering our time and efforts somewhere (which includes getting paid so little you might as well call it volunteering; a.k.a. the infamous “internship“). Whatever the case may be this summer, I pray all of you (myself as well) let school, whether college or Seminary, marinate appropriately for 3 months, and allow God to have your new freedoms to do with what He would. Let Him stretch your wings stretch a bit…learn to cook, play an instrument, read through His word 3 full times, save someone’s life by being fully in it, re-consider the once and a lifetime gift that singleness is and enjoy your time “alone”, act like a little kid again this summer. Just live it abundantly.
I plan to enjoy His creation…whether alone or with friends, it does not matter…so long as He is my portion and my expectation, the day will more than suffice. I pray God can stir all our hearts to truly want those kind of days. I for one know that the first chance I get I want to negotiate His intended agenda and snuggle my will up alongside His…which always leads to a nebulous mingling of little plans thinking they are all to the world as they spoon with the King’s desires.
I am fortunate enough to have some amazing friends sticking around the area, and will certainly look forward to spending time with them, continuing to learn about their hearts, and simply doing life together as brothers and sisters in Christ: fellowshipping the summer away!
For those spiritual siblings that are leaving for a few month’s time, as well as those who are heading off to start “real life” somewhere across this country…I say…I will miss you, probably every day, more than a handful of moments too. I will think of you and the blessing that you even continue to easily be to me even from so far away! I will miss my undergrad guys a whole lot and look forward to spending a heck of a lot of time with you come 3 months from now.
Be safe, unless God challenges you to be otherwise…be upright, lest you disqualify yourself from Love’s expectations…be healthy (eat well this summer, which does not mean bbq every day…just every other day!)… Make sunblock a companion these next 100 days or so…and lastly, to all my brothers in Christ…be His. Wait so very well on Him, in Him and yes, for her by being solely His. I will heed my own advice to this end as well. May we dive deep into His joy, deep into strength…and deep into our respective faiths, so as to wage war on the evils that will surely be awaiting a sparring partner whereveer the summer would have us.
I will miss you more than you know!
3 John 1:14