Plymouth Park UMC Staff Blog

August 14, 2017: Relaxation and Respite

August 14, 2017

Pastor Bill La BarrI received the photograph below yesterday afternoon from my son with the caption, “Have you ever seen anyone so relaxed?” I replied, “No.” He observed, “Neither have I.”

My youngest grandson, Jameson, is embodying the sense of relaxation and respite that we are seeking this last week of July and first week of August. Most of us have had that harsh thought, “August? How can it be August?! Where has the summer gone?” Meaning, where has the time gone of respite and easy relaxed days that summer is supposed to be? (I would be in the group that is thinking those thoughts.)

I don’t know where the summer has gone, or why it seems to go by so quickly anymore. All I know is that we are deep into the planning process for 2018 to prepare for our church conference at the end of October. Our staff is also trying to determine where the summer went as they shift from mission trips and Vacation Bible School and Missions Garage Sale to the work of fall Bible studies for adults and fall activities.

I will be continuing my Tuesday morning Bible study with three six-week lessons by Adam Hamilton on Moses, John and “making sense of the Bible.” I will also continue our Wednesday evening Men’s Bible study, currently a free-wheeling, rabbit-chasing journey through the letters of Paul.

Between then and now, however, I am taking a few days off. When you receive this tome I will have almost completed my 10-day August adventure into the Spanish language in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Some have contended that my time studying Spanish is a “vacation.” I don’t count spending six hours a day in intensive language studies a vacation. (They don’t speak English at all! All conversation/instruction is totally in Spanish.) It is, however, a “respite.”

We are in class from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., then home for comida, the big meal of the day around 3:00 p.m., then a short siesta. Then the afternoon and evening are ours.

I will take the opportunity to do preaching planning for the end of the season after Pentecost, and probably Advent, too. I will be working on our plans for the stewardship campaign, which begins at the end of August. I will finish the sermon for the Sunday that I arrive home.

And I will also spend some time reading for the sheer enjoyment of it, and taking long naps in the shade of a tree. Cuernavaca is called the “City of Eternal Spring” because its climate is spring-like year-round. In August, that means high temperatures during the daytime in the very low 80s and low humidity as well as monsoon rainstorms (tormentas) most nights. One can become accustomed to this kind of climate very quickly!

I will also refresh my friendship with Isabel Lozano Calderon, my hostess for the last 11 years, and her family. I have been staying with Isabel for so long now that her grandchildren think I’m some long-lost uncle that shows up a couple of times a year to visit. I can live with that.

And to top it all off, I will eat lots of very good Mexican food (not Tex-Mex, that’s a different cuisine entirely), including fresh tropical fruit.

Pastor Bill's grandson JamesonSo I will accomplish lots of work for the church during my 10 days away, and perhaps some personal time as well. My goal is to have at least one moment where I am as relaxed and content as Jameson is in the photograph.

See you when I return!

Bill La Barr's signature

Micah 6:8

...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?