Summers in Michigan are an amazing gift. If is easy to sense the holy presence of God in the warmth of the air, the blue of the sky and the sight of sunlight bouncing of the water of whatever lake you happen to be looking at. Summer is also a gift because I have found we have summer friends in Michigan. We spend so much time hibernating in the winter when the air finally warms there are people we only spend time with in the summer. They are a gift.
But people are also a challenge. It is almost a cliché to talk of seeing God in nature. The sound of a small stream, the glory of a sunset or sunrise and more. In some ways that is easy. It is easy to see God in beautiful things. It is easy to see God when things are going well.
But what of other times? Human relationships are not always beautiful. They can be messy and ugly and uncomfortable…even with people we love dearly. And then there are the people we have a difficult time liking or loving at all. We all have run into people like that.
During these summer days when your heart swells at the beauty of a Michigan lake in the cool of the morning, take those thoughts and turn your attention to the difficult people in your life. How does your faith shape your response to them?
Following Jesus means seeing God in the beauty. Following Jesus also means seeing God in the ugly, the difficult and even the painful. Who does your faith lead you to love with forgiveness and mercy?
May these summer days be a blessing to you and your family and may you encounter the presence of God everywhere you look!
Pr Paul Walters