It’s summertime.  For many of us, this is a time for vacation and renewal.  This may not be true if we make our living in agriculture or in tourism.  But I think it’s true for many of us.  And it’s probably true for our congregations.  Our “program” year often starts in September and ends in May.

I read some time ago that Americans, on average, sleep an hour less each weeknight than experts recommend, and half an hour less on weekends.  By the end of the year, we are short two full weeks of rest.  (And how can you tell if you are sleep deprived?  They say that if you need to use an alarm clock to wake up on time, you are!)  Americans spend more time at work than any other industrialized nation and have less vacation time too.  I’m told that the vacation times we give most workers in this country are illegal in Europe!

There’s an image in T S Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” the first of his “Four Quartets,” that sticks in my mind.  Down in the half-light of the London Underground, people are running busily to and from work.  And he talks about them being like stray scraps of paper, blowing in the wind. (more…)