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From the Rector's Study

Rev. Bryce Sangster


And the rich young man asked to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. (Matthew 19:16-22)

Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’  And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness;  Honour your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’  The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’  Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’  When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

This seems to be about the commandment; to love God and love one’s neighbour.  But the commandment is to love our neighbour as our selves. Summer is a time to remind ourselves that our lives need to be in balance. A time for God, neighbour and self, a time for rest, relaxation and restoration. The idea is that life is a marathon not a sprint, this means not burning ourselves out and becoming cynical or tired or both.


The sun and heat make for a slower pace, and some of the church activities stop in the summer, and give us a time to stop, relax and wonder about the meaning in our lives, to do some dreaming about the possibilities and the hope for the future even in the face of some obvious challenges. But we still need to do certain things through the summer and we have activities only in the summer…… And my holidays are at an off time between Canada Day in the park in Campbellford, the picnic service on the Fifth Sunday in July at Roseneath, and the Ducky races in Hastings.


St. Ignatius says:
"In time of desolation one should never make a change, but stand firm and constant in the resolutions and decision which guided him the day before the desolation, or to the decision which he observed in the preceding consolation."

Or as Philip Yancey summarizes:” Stand firm.”


The paradox of summer is the reality that even though we stop to rest and relax the point of it all is to be restored to continue to take our place in the community; to continue to take part in the activities we are involved in with others, with renewed and restored joy and hope, and maybe have a new perspective of the community of faith and our place in it. (Maybe take on something new as an individual or as part of the community.)


The irony I feel as I write this, is because leadership in this Diocese as in the others I have been a part of have seen their role as planning and organizing more activities for the clergy and laity of the Diocese without providing any leadership and help if stopping or cutting back on the activities we are already engaged in.  The reality is; we fill the time we have in our lives either consciously or unconsciously.  So to take on something new, we have to stop or cut back on something we are already doing.  Maybe it is not for others, but for each of us to take responsibility for our own lives and make our own choices. This may be the point of summer in our time of rest and restoration, to ask ourselves what or who in our lives gives us hope and joy?  This would mean planning to make more conscious choices rather than just falling back on a pattern of behavior without any thought.


We do have choices for our lives, and we blame others for our own choices. Wayne Dyer tells the story of husband who was angry and frustrated because she made him come with her to visit her family on Sunday afternoon, when he would have preferred to stay home and watch football.  He begrudgingly went and hated every minute of the time, and he did not enjoy spending time with his in laws. This all changed when he realized that to go was his choice.  He could stay and incur his wife’s wrath or go with her, his choice.  Once he realized that the choice was his, not his wife’s, he actually came to enjoy his time with his in laws. 


The time of summer is a time of rest and relaxation from the marathon of our lives to get us ready for the next stage in our lives because; To quote Reinhold Niebuhr:  “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.”  


May this summer be a time of rest and renewal and a blessing for all of us.