Slideshow image

Dearly Beloved,

This week feels like summer. The sun is shining. The water is warm (by Canadian standards). Students are on summer break. Workers will have vacation. Life is good.

Some of my favourite summer memories include water sports, hiking, travel, time at a cabin, and serving in summer ministries like camp.

Summer is different from the other seasons. People talk about being in “summer mode.” So, what contributes to a good summer? I will suggest 3 Rs for summer: rest, recreation, and renewal.

  1. Rest. Summer is a great time to take a break. Most people get some time off in summer. Even those who work through the summer may take advantage of weekends as times for rest.

Jesus modeled rest. On one occasion so many people came to Jesus that He and the disciples didn’t even have time to eat. Jesus followed this busy time of ministry by going away with the disciples to a solitary place. Jesus took breaks. Summer affords opportunities for rest.

  1. Recreation. Recreation comes from the word recreate, which means to give new life or freshness. Recreation is a way of being refreshed through enjoyable activities.

Recreational interests vary widely. For some, life-giving recreation may be hiking the West Coast Trail. For others, life-giving recreation may be lying in the sun with a good book. Find activities which give new life or freshness to you.

Include God in your recreation. He is the ultimate life-giver. Experience creation and re-creation through abiding in His presence. This leads me to the final R.

  1. Renewal. As we enter summer, some of us may need more than physical rest. We need renewed purpose, energy, and joy. We may need physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal.

One opportunity for renewal this summer is the Church Camp next week. There will be times for rest, fun, connecting with others, and spiritual input, all in a beautiful part of God’s creation. This is a great combination for renewal.

Several years ago, shortly before summer, I participated in a leadership retreat at a camp on the Alberta side of the Rockies. After some personal time with the Lord, we came together for further reflection. A participant who had been at this camp several times referred to the camp as a thin place. It was the first time I heard the term.

“Thin places” are settings where the distance between earth and heaven is thin; places where we are inclined to experience closeness with God. Often these are places of natural beauty that have been set apart to God for purposes of retreat, Christian ministry, and spiritual renewal. I have found thin places at a retreat centre and at some camps. God seemed particularly close in those settings.

I was talking to a person this week who described Camp Selah as a place they often experience God in a special way. He didn’t use the term, yet Selah may be a thin place. If we are open, I am confident God will do special things among us. We may experience renewal. Certainly God can meet us anywhere, but it seems He has places where we more easily experience Him. Church Summer Camp may be a great opportunity for rest, recreation, and renewal.

I am excited for summer. I hope to visit with many of you at camp next week. Whether you come or not, whether in thin places or elsewhere, I hope you will experience rest, recreation, and renewal this summer.