~ by Lee Hull Moses
Around here, summer officially starts today, when school finally lets out. We will celebrate with a trip to our favorite ice cream place. I love summer, and fully plan to enjoy every minute of this one. As we’ve been making plans for the next couple of months, I found myself wondering what it means to practice our faith in this season of lazy days and beach vacations. I know what a fun summer looks like; what’s a faithful one?
Practice delight. Pay attention to and appreciate the little things that make this season so lovely. For me, it’s my son’s grin when he jumps into the pool and the summer sky that stays light until nearly nine o’clock.
Commit to joy. My daughter is swimming on the swim team this year. She’s loving it, and I’m loving watching her. I’ve decided that for these few weeks, we’re going to be at every practice and every meet we can; we’re enjoying it too much to let anything else get in the way. Figure out what brings you summer joy and do it.
Be good to the people who make your summer fun possible. Thank the lifeguards. Tip the servers well. Be kind to the gate agent as she boards your crowded flight.
Love your neighbors. Many families who have trouble making ends meet rely on the school lunch program to feed their families; no school means no food. Give generously to your local food banks or volunteer for summer feeding sites. Support shelters who help people experiencing homelessness get in out of the heat.
Be good to the earth. Take advantage of the nice weather and bike or walk sometimes instead of taking the car. Turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. Hang up a clothesline and give the dryer a rest.
Go to church. Don’t skip out on Sunday morning just because the weather is nice. Your family’s faith life needs regular practice, and your church needs your presence. (And trust me, your pastor, who has been working all week on a sermon, will be glad to see your smiling faces.)
Nurture gratitude. Start a summer thankfulness list and post it on your fridge; invite your family to add something to it every day. See if you can come up with something you’re grateful for each letter of the alphabet, or each color of the rainbow.
Take a screen Sabbath. Declare a No Phone Friday or a TV Off Tuesday. Power down the computer and go outside with some sidewalk chalk. And no cheating: no fair telling your kids to turn off the screens and then sneaking a peek at Facebook when they’re not looking.
Eat well. Go to the farmer’s market or join a Community Supported Agriculture program. Those tomatoes that were grown on a local farm will taste better than the ones in the grocery store, and there’s nothing better than sweet corn with fresh watermelon afterward. It’s easy to eat healthy and local in the summer, so go all in.
What would you add to this list? Post your tips for a faith-and-fun-filled summer in the comments here or the Practicing Families Facebook page. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a rising 4th grader and a chocolate ice cream cone. Happy summer!
Lee Hull Moses is enjoying summer in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she is the pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is the author of the forthcoming More than Enough: Living Abundantly in a Culture of Excess. Connect with Lee at leehullmoses.com.