The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 2017
An elementary school near my home had the following message up all summer on its sign: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It made me laugh and my wife start to sing. I can imagine the teacher who posted that message was very much looking forward to the summer holidays when he/she posted it. And I have no doubt that the teachers and students alike all see the summer as the most wonderful time of the year, a time to relax, play, indulge in their favourite pastimes and generally get out to the disciplined rhythm of teaching and learning.
Many see Friday at 5PM as the goal of the week, the destination towards which they are working so that they can finally have time with family and friends. And if that is true so much more the end of the school year.
Here at Grace we are opposite a middle school. A few years back one spring afternoon I heard all kinds of car horns honking one after the other. Never having heard anything like that from my office before I stood up to see what was going on and what I saw was the teachers driving out of the school parking lot at 5PM on the last day of school honking their horns in celebration! It made me smile.
Our Western culture tends to have a love-hate relationship with work, glorifying it on one hand but dreading it on the other.
How should a Christian view the end of the summer and the return to regular school and work patterns? Biblically speaking, we don’t work to rest, we rest to work. Biblically, we rest for the purpose of working, we rest so that our work can be done with creativity and vigour. Looking at the return to the school year from a biblical viewpoint we can rejoice in the fact that this allows us to serve our neighbour in many ways: we serve our children by sending them to school or homeschooling them and we serve our neighbour by working in whatever vocation God has given us.
The beginning of the school year typically comes with stress for most. That stress comes from the many demands that work and raising a family bring. My prayer for you is that you will trust in the Lord Jesus who died on the cross to forgive your sins and shortcoming with regard to work and rest. In Jesus’ three day rest in the tomb he rested from his work of redeeming the world from sin. And on Easter Sunday when he rose from the dead he rose to new and glorious life and now Christ ever lives to help all who call upon him. Trust that God in Christ will provide you with the energy to love and serve all those whom God has placed in your life. Remember that Christ is always with you in all you do.
I hope your summer downtime has recharged you and will be a blessing to whatever vocation(s) God has given to you. While some may call summer “the most wonderful time of the year,” rejoice that the fall and anytime is an opportunity to rest in Christ who has won your salvation and worked to give you his peace.