Right now, the land echoes with songs such as “Power in the Blood” and “Because He Lives,” but past performance assures me that the ditty waiting in the wings is (apologies to Alice Cooper) “God’s Out For Summer.”
Yes, countless people (whether unchurched or nominally religious) are counting down the days until Easter goes hopping down the bunny trail for another year.
Admittedly, these folks have endured four or five stressful months. Sure, there have been talking snowmen, Cupid and green beer to keep them distracted; but some killjoy inevitably brings up “the reason for the season” or delves into the real-life travails of Saints Nicholas, Valentine and Patrick.
To add insult to injury, these people weren’t permitted to focus solely on statesmen, scientists and entertainers during Black History Month. No, some meddlesome reporter fixated on the vital role of Black churches in the civil rights movement.
Then came their Lenten sacrifices (or listening to other people brag/complain about their Lenten sacrifices), leading up to all that cringe-inducing talk about the crucifixion.
Understandably, numerous worshippers and innocent bystanders are suffering religion fatigue. They’re yearning for a spring and summer of lawnmowing, fishing, barbecuing, home repairing and vacationing.
True, Mother’s Day may inspire memories of mom as a God-fearing woman and Memorial Day has its somber side; but for all intents and purposes, these folks have a six or seven-month reprieve from religious thoughts.
The fun doesn’t come to a screeching halt until those pesky Pilgrims remind us what ingrates we are and Linus trots out his Nativity speech for the umpteenth time.
(I’m writing this from a Christian perspective, but I’m sure there are Jews, Muslims and members of other faiths who suffer burnout from their own holidays and traditions.)
However you’ve been rationalizing your downtime (recharging your batteries, cleansing your palate, getting back to the Real World), I implore you not to perpetuate the cycle of making spirituality a purely seasonal observance.
Every day is a day the Lord has made, not just the days after Halloween.
From a practical perspective, it’s hard to get back in the saddle after a prolonged absence from thinking about the meaning of life. It’s like schoolchildren. I don’t begrudge them their summer vacation; but unless the kids frequent the library in July or take educational trips, they invariably return to school in the autumn needing to re-learn the math and grammar they supposedly learned in May.
Nature abhors a vacuum, but Satan loves one. Theoretically, you can fill your mind with secular thoughts that are always productive or at least benign; but it’s so much easier to drift toward endeavors that are selfish or self-destructive.
Several prominent Bible figures were praised for their steadfastness. I don’t remember a single account of lackadaisical religious observance having a happy ending.
How do you keep up the momentum after Easter? Regular fellowship with good people is the ideal, but do what you can. Download another “verse of the day” app. Browse the bookstore for thought-provoking Christian apologetics books. Learn from a sacred-minded shut-in. Consider recalibrating your music playlist to contain maybe a couple fewer kick-your-butt-in-a-barroom and get-nekkid-ASAP songs and a couple additional songs of praise and glory.
No, despite what your wishful thinking might whisper to you, God won’t be out for summer. He doesn’t run out on you.
But time does. Use your time wisely, year-round.
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”