By Dcn. Adam Gosnell
Originally published in eLectio 6/19/2017
Christians… are boring.
(Insult the reader right away? Smart move.) But it’s true! Ask someone on the street, “Hey, you’re having a party, who do you invite?” I’ll bet money they don’t say, “You know, Christians are super fun. I’d probably invite lots of them.”
And so when I think about spirituality and the summer—flip flops, sprinklers, iced tea, the beach summer—I just think, “This… is going to be a lot of work.”
Olaf comes to mind. If you haven’t seen Frozen (is that possible?), part of the enchanted winter is that the princesses’ childhood snowman, Olaf, becomes magically animate and decides to help Anna and Kristoff go find Elsa, to stop winter.
(Wait… a snowman wants to stop winter?) I know. But Olaf LOVES summer. I mean, he’s never experienced summer, but he loves the idea. When the audience first meets him, he actually breaks into song about how much he’s looking forward to it. At one point he sings,
Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a —
… It’s really cute.
Anyway! Often, Christians and summer are like Olaf and summer. There’s something in our constitution that’s just… against it. So, if I were going to prepare you for summer I could say, “Okay, go to church, pray (Luther’s small catechism has great instruction on short, Christian prayer), don’t break the Ten Commandments, etc.” And you should probably still do all of that. But I want to say more. Because that alone reinforces the presumption that summer isn’t actually God’s idea, and that “the game” is the “spiritual” stuff.
But the liturgical color isn’t always purple. Human beings aren’t even made to live that way! God LOVES summer. It was his idea! And, if you, like me, feel more at home being a wet blanket, we have some repenting to do. Let’s cultivate, in ourselves, a love for summer too. (Olaf, patron saint of summer?)
So, go to the beach! Drink iced tea on the porch. Read books (short, easy books). Sleep in. Take a second dessert. And count that as part of your Christian duty. That is part of your spiritual life.
As St. Augustine would say, “Love God and do as you please.”