Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | June 28, 2013

The Strong Word July/August 2013


How things change! It is difficult to believe that holidays were only invented 150 years ago with the advent of the train. People could travel from their home town to the seaside or countryside cheaply in a reasonable time. However, even in the 1930’s my Father tells me only 3 out of 40 pupils in his class would go away in the summer, usually a week in Margate!

Today holidays are common, many go away, often more than once. The long summer school holidays seem purpose made for a visit to the sea, but were actually long and in the summer so that harvests could be gathered in using the extra labour provided by youngsters and families if school days were suspended. Sadly, I understand the present Government is considering shortening the holidays, as youngsters are bored.

Up until the mid 19th Century holidays were “Holy days”, times when religious duties and celebrations replaced work. They were a pilgrimage, it was not free time, but usually structured journeys and visits to Holy Shrines and times of worship. In Bible times, when Jesus was a lad, the annual holiday would involve a week away at the temple in Jerusalem confessing sin and making sacrifice. The worship of God was central in the week, before they walked the 70 miles back home, a far cry from a few days in Skegness!

As we approach the holiday season 2013, I realise just how far we have moved from the intention of a holiday to bring us closer to our heavenly Father, and provide a time of relaxation of body, mind and spirit. Holidays can be so busy these days with so much to fit in, travelling, trendy food and the obligatory visits and things to do.

Perhaps with the more relaxing church timetable that comes in July and August we will have the chance this summer to:- “be still and to know that I am God.” To use our “down time” wisely, will better prepare us for the new session beginning in September.

In Isaiah 30 verse 15 The Lord says:- “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”, this surely is the secret of the refreshment of body and soul. So may I encourage you (and me !) to use the summer season well this year, to say more prayers, to read more of our Bible and allow the beauty of the world around us to influence our thinking and praying.

May the Lord Bless us, as we trust in him, spend time with him and receive physical and spiritual refreshment.

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