by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, July 2014

Posted on the wall in our friend’s home is a hand-made poster with the title “Summer Bucket List.”  The parents, with their two kids, brainstormed a list of all the fun things they wished to do during the summer. Easy things like “make homemade ice cream” and “chill out by the pool” were listed with “climb Stone Mountain” and “build an ultimate slip-n-slide.” No room for boredom there. These summer plans will no doubt offer wonderful memories and shape this family for seasons to come. The appeal of summer that may prompt some of this brainstorming is the idea that summer affords opportunity: time for family, rest, and reconnecting.

Homemade ice cream and napping by the pool sound just right for some of these summer days. With the opportunity that lies in longer days and vacation times, there comes the question, what would we like to see happen in this season? What’s on your summer bucket list?

Summer brings many opportunities at Highland Hills. We have had moments to serve through the church mission trip to Atlanta and our summer lunch program to serve our neighbors. Children, preschoolers, and youth have great events like VBS and camps to connect and grow in discipleship. We also have faith development moments with our book study Learning to Walk in the Dark and on-going Sunday School discussions.

Summer affords opportunities for a different rhythm of life. What will this mean for your life of faith? Will you serve as a family together? Will you tithe gratefully, maybe trying this as a new faith practice for your family? Will you pray in a new way, expectant that God is at work doing great things in our homes and in our church?  

Summer gives us time to rest and renew ourselves within church, not away from church.  We show up, we serve. We give, we worship. Rather than a summer slump, this season can be a spiritual gift if we contemplate what opportunities lie around us.  Ann Voskamp reminds us, “A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.”  May our summer bucket lists be informed by Christ’s blessings so that we may live out Christ’s love in our community.

What is on your spiritual summer bucket list?