I write to you immediately after the conclusion of the highly successful 59th edition of the Hunt Country Stable Tour. I have always thought of this weekend as being about much more than raising funds to assist our outreach ministries. It is also about building our relationships as we exercise the ministry of hospitality. Led by those who so generously open their farms and other venues for us, we welcome people from all over the world to the beauty of God’s creation represented by our region. This year, as I listened to the joy and appreciation shared by our guests, I realized that there was another ministry at work here. It was, and is, the ministry of healing. It may have been the chance to get outdoors after a long, wet spring. It may be the turbulent times in which we are living. Whatever the case, the time spent in the beauty of our community clearly was having a cleansing effect. Many thanks to Kat Gemmer, this year’s Chair, the members of the committee, and to each of you who volunteered to make this a most memorable tour. Now, on to the 60th!
We will soon enter the season of summer. As always, my prayer for each of you is that you will find real time for rest, recreation, and renewal in the coming months. Hike a high mountain trail. Wiggle your toes in beach sand. Explore unknown destinations. Catch up with family and friends free from the usual schedule constraints. Be still and glory in beauty of God’s creation. One of my chief concerns for our society and for ourselves is that we have lost the absolutely necessary discipline of keeping the Sabbath. There is a reason that God has said to us from the very beginning, “I have given you six days a week to work. On the seventh day, you are to rest in my love, thereby keeping that one day holy and for God alone.” I, for one, think the loss of Sabbath keeping is the greatest cause of the decline of our churches and indeed of our world today. I therefore encourage you try and re-establish that discipline in the course of your vacations. And remember, the idea of a “working vacation” is nothing but an oxymoron.
One of the things I enjoy doing while on vacation is to catch up on my reading. Here are several books that I would recommend adding to your list:
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: This memoir is a sobering account of the many and inhumane injustices perpetuated in our criminal justice system today. Stevenson is the founder of the “Equal Justice Initiative” and someone I would love to have come and lead a retreat for us.
Grant by Ron Chernow: Another excellent offering by one of our greatest living biographers.
A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre: I have always been a big fan of his novels.
Souls in Transition by Christian Smith with Patricia Snell: If you want to understand what is going on in regards to religion amongst those born after 1990, this is the definitive study.
Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield: A wonderful account about one of our society’s best essayists, philosophers, and conservationists.
Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor: Another insightful guide for those seeking to truly live a full spiritual life.
Living the Sabbath by Norman Wirzba: A great resource if you want to discover once again the importance of keeping Sabbath in our daily lives.
Finally, the summer season calls us to be out of doors here at Trinity, enjoying the greatest cathedral ever known. To that end, please mark your calendars for our cookouts. The first is scheduled for Thursday, June 14th at 6pm. The conversations are always delightful and the food perfection! I will see you out there. Here’s to a summer of rest, renewal, and healing! As the old saying goes, may this season be a time in which we truly let go and let God.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rev. Rob Banse