Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
Luke 21:29-36

29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Devotional
Summer solstice is my favorite time of year but it also makes me the tiniest bit sad. I love the longest day of the year and revel in the sunlight. I love to be outside. I love the warm (yes, even HOT) weather. I love hiking and biking and the beach and eating outside. I love grilling. Most of all, I love the inescapable feeling of relaxation. The tone of every conversation and every interaction just seems to be a little less intense. I just love all of it.

I get sad when I realize that after today, the days will get progressively shorter as we march toward fall. Even though summer has only just begun, I feel sad that the beginning means an inevitable end.

I told a friend this and she remarked at how anniversaries always make her sad for similar reasons. The anniversary she celebrates with her spouse reminds her of a time when love was a little ridiculous, over-the-top, and nonsensical. Although it still is those things, it is also the mundanity of paying bills, taking care of a home, and making appointments. Not exactly the surprise flowers and dinners of a newly dating couple.

My friend told me that she tries hard to remember that the ending of each season brings the beginning of a new one - a season she has not yet experienced that will bring unexpected things all its own. She works hard to focus on celebrating those new experiences for what they are. She encouraged me to study the mums that fall and find the most beautiful ones as a way to stay present and find joy in the start of a new season without lamenting the end of the last one or getting so far ahead of myself that I dread a season I have not even experienced.

One of the inescapable facts of life is that every life comes to an end. We did not need a pandemic to teach us that, but all of us have more experience with grief in the last year than we could have anticipated. Remaining in the present moment and celebrating each experience can help us find gratitude and joy for the simple things - the positive with the negative, the fun with the boring, the new with the old. We only get one chance at this life and each day is new, unique, and unlike any other despite the petty repetitions that we mistake for predictability. Don’t let an inevitable ending trap you and steal your joy.
Prayer
Fill us with gratitude for the newness of this day and everyday, God of all creation. Keep us present, grounded, and full of verve for the day ahead. Dissipate our fear, anxiety, and sadness for what has passed or what we think may be coming. Sharpen our focus on what we have right in front of us. Amen

Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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