I bet you didn't think that would be the first sentence of the first summer devotional. And maybe you're hating me a little bit right now because you'd rather be thinking about the beach than neuroscience. But bare with me.
2017. It's Saturday of Easter weekend. One year ago. It seemed like such a peaceful day. My housemate was moving into our new house and as I waited for her to arrive, I watched my new street and dreamed about opportunities we would have. I never expected what would happen next.
Holy Saturday marks the day after the crucifixion and the day before the Resurrection. Saturday was the Sabbath in this culture, the day of rest, the day each week when no one was permitted to work. Everyone is in their homes. No one is at Jesus’ tomb.
I grew up in a traditional Methodist church. We recognized Advent, Lent, Easter and everything in between. But if you asked me if I understood why we observed Easter the way we did, I would have no idea. Words like "atonement", "sacrificial lamb", and “Good Friday” went over my head.
A year ago my life was turned upside down when some people in my life made choices that profoundly wounded my soul in a way I had never experienced before. I tried all the "bullet points" of forgiveness I had learned in the past.
Ok, I’m going to tell you one of my really embarrassing stories.
During my first week as a freshman at the University of Illinois, one of my high school friends drunk dialed me. I called her back the next day and said “I’m really disappointed that you got drunk. I thought you were better than that.”
Well, the time has come. Summer break is over and school has started again (unless you're a quarter school, which means you have another few weeks). For many of you, today is your first day back to classes.
When you’re in college, typically summer goes one of two ways. You either are super busy with a summer internship or summer job, doing fun things on the weekend, and lucky if you make it to church on Sunday.
This summer has been the hotest on record in Salt Lake City. With no AC and no end in sight to the +100° days, complaining about the heat to my cat while I slowly melt into the fabrics of my couch has become the norm. But complaining is like eating too much candy- at first it tastes so good but then after awhile you just feel terrible and sick.
For me summer is often a time of reconsidering. A new routine, new people, an opportunity to reinvent myself. It’s a time of comparison which makes me wonder: Did I take the right job? Travel adventurously enough? Or caption my pictures well? It makes me doubt whether or not God has me right where he wants me.
This week we're going to engage with Scripture in a different way through a practice called "Imaginative Prayer." Bear with me, it's not that weird. Developed by St. Ignatius in the mid 1500s as one of his Spiritual Exercises, Imaginative Prayer provides an opportunity to enter specific moments in Jesus’ life and thereby share his experience.
I’m kind of a terrible runner. I was that kid who dreaded running the mile in gym class. I only played community soccer because they had to let every kid play at least half the game. Running has never, and still doesn’t, come naturally to me.
I love long, slow summer days. Hot days mean eating watermelon outside, swimming in the lake or laying by the pool, and reading a book while watching summer thunderstorms roll through town. At least at our house, hot days gives us a chance to relax a little bit, which is a different pace from our normal hectic lives.
Credit to my parents; they raised me to be fairly independent. And I think they succeeded. By age 21, I had driven across the country by myself a couple times, lived abroad for a semester where few people spoke English, could do my own taxes, and add the proper amount of hot water to Ramen noodles.