Vacationing is not something I know much about.  I mean, I know the definition, the purpose, and even the value of a vacation.  It is just that it isn’t something that I’ve actually done a lot of over the years.   

Yes, we’ve gone to visit family in other cities and states over the years.  In 2002 we spent two weeks in California visiting family.  But, getting away for the sake of getting away, with no purpose other than to recharge, renew, and relax has not been a significant part of my life.   

So, you can imagine the mix of excitement, fear, relief, and dread as I embarked on the first real vacation I’ve taken since our honeymoon.  My range of emotion was only heightened by the realization that my technological connection to the outside world (computer/smartphone) was useless on board a ship unless I paid a lot of money to maintain that connection. 

However, after a day at sea I could feel how freeing it was to step aside, to disconnect and unplug, and to just be.  My cares and concerns about home and congregation were still present; but, for moment, I was given a chance to set the world of responsibility, duty, and obligation aside, and just relax.   

My ability to relax, to recharge and renew, is due in large part to you.  Your support, encouragement, and well wishes were (and are) most appreciated.  The leadership of Pastor Ed, Pastor John, and Pastor Greg M. left me reassured that worship and pastoral care were in good hands.  Jay’s willingness to learn and cover the video/sound system insured that a vital part of our ministry would be in capable hands.  And the fact that on my return I was not greeted with hundreds of emails or voicemails was a blessing all by itself.  

Thank you!  

As I reflect on my time away, my time of stepping out of daily life, I am reminded that each of us is invited each week to a time of renewal, refreshment, and recharge as we are called to worship.  While not a vacation from the world in which we live, worship is a gift that allows us to pause and remember who and whose we are.  Worship is a gift that allows us to nurture our relationships with others and God.  While the world “still waits beyond the walls”, worship gives us the chance to step into the healing, hope filled, presence of God and hear the promise of forgiveness, love, belonging, and new life we have in Jesus. 

I needed vacation. I need to make vacation a part of my life moving forward.

Likewise, we all need worship.  We need that time with God and one another.  We need to be fed with word and sacrament.  We need the reminder that Jesus’ love for us knows no boundary and no limit.  Worship strengthens us and renews us, that we might meet the challenges and obstacles of life in this world with a faith and hope that makes us more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Vacation renews and refreshes our bodies and our minds.  Worship renews and refreshes our souls and our faith.  Both are necessary to meet the challenges of life.  

My next vacation is planned for next year.  Our next worship is planned for next week. I am thankful for both and look forward to seeing you in worship! 

God’s Peace,