Faith Matters: It’s summer, the time to meditate, restore and renew your soul

For everything there is a season, the writer of Ecclesiastes says.

We have seasons of life and seasons of the year, and in Florida, we have a particularly intense season with snowbirds when our population and activity level increases dramatically.

But now school is finished, snowbirds are gone and summer is upon us.

It is time to breathe, to recreate and to reflect on the ebb and flow of life.

The passage of time is a fascinatingly subjective experience. Consider how fast the time goes when you are busy and trying to accomplish something, and how slow when you are waiting for a surgery to begin or a family member to return home.

Time is a paradox.

When you spend an afternoon with your demanding young children, you think your active daily parenting role will last forever. And when your last child graduates from college or gets her first adult job and moves out, you wonder how the years passed so quickly.

Elizabeth Deibert profile.jpg
The Rev. Elizabeth Deibert is the pastor at Peace Presbyterian Church, 12705 State Road 64, Lakewood Ranch.

The gift of time is perhaps one of our most precious offerings. We speak of finding time, saving time, taking time and losing time.

Yet, sometimes we do not reflect very carefully on how it is spent and sometimes squandered. Each day and week has its limits of productive time. We are forced to make choices.

Sleep demands much of our time — so that our body, mind and spirit can be refreshed. In the course of a day, we require at least one quarter of our hours to be a time of rest. We were created in God’s image to spend one of seven days resting, reflecting, recreating and worshipping God.

We rush around all week trying to gain or beat time, hoping to avoid stoplights and long lines. Our culture celebrates multi-tasking and busy-ness, and finds it difficult to be still for quiet reflection.

The ever-present cable news, social media and other tools of entertainment and communication at our fingertips encourage us to fill every spare minute with activity, with connectivity.

Yet our bodies, minds and spirits need quiet time to pause from our distracted and frenetic pace of life to appreciate the beauty all around us — daily, weekly and seasonally. We need to know that life is more than what we accomplish.

Sabbath invites us to simply enjoy God and the people around us.

How often anxiety and bitterness arises in the absence of grateful reflection on life’s gifts. The psalmist utters the message of the Holy One to us, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Elijah looked for the Lord in the noise, in the dramatic events of life around him — but found God in the still, quiet voice.

In this season of summer, may you find time to meditate and recreate. That word recreate means not just to play, but by relaxing to restore and renew the soul.

The word for Spirit in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures is also translated “breath” or “wind.” May your spiritual renewal be found in the time you take this season to breathe in the peace of Christ and breathe out gratitude for all the gifts of God.

The Rev. Elizabeth Deibert is the pastor at Peace Presbyterian Church, 12705 State Road 64, Lakewood Ranch. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Bradenton Herald, written by local clergy members.

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