July 8, 2013
It doesn’t take long to get back to normal.
Cleaning up after Christmas takes much longer; the hours spent decorating the house – inside, and out – is just the down payment on the time it will take to roll it all up and get it back in the attic. Saying farewell to the Fourth is simpler: sweep up the burnt residue from the fireworks in the street, and say “welcome” to Summer.
For the next two months, you’re living in a ghost town. After five years of Recession, folks are ready to get back to their summer posture. Two week vacations will be back with a vengeance. Don’t expect quick answers or call backs; whoever you’re after is either gone, getting ready to go… or buried in the pile from being gone. Suck it up: July and August are slim-pickin’s, if you’re trying to get face-time. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em: get yourself ready for some Sabbath of your own.
Just a couple of weeks ago, my friend Jim Daly – president of Focus on the Family – took a bold step and aired his interview with Paul David Hewson (you know Paul by his stage name, Bono, and his band, U2) on their daily program. To hear the interview, click here. Bono is the son of a Protestant mother, a Catholic father, and – by self-description – a follower of Jesus.
Rodney Dangerfield’s comic caption was, “I don’t get no respect.” The Irish could be his back-up choir for that anthem; Bono is one of a long chain of Irish world-changers whose impact on history has been remarkable.
While you’re getting packed for your summer escape, let me make a suggestion or two. You probably won’t make it to Dublin or Belfast; the Irish Isle isn’t on your itinerary… but it doesn’t mean you can’t go green in your free time.
First, a book: How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill. Amazon can set you up with the paperback, a Kindle version… or, an audio book for your digital listening device (go to amazon.com). If you want some historic perspective about the importance of the Christian faith to the world as we know it – and, how the actions of a few ultimately aggregate to impact the many – this book will be a significant thought provoker.
And, for a little music while you’re lying on a beach or running the trails, jump on iTunes and download the album Come, Heal this Land, by Robin Marks (go to itunes.apple.com). You may not want to pop for the whole enchilada (14 songs), but #9 – the title track – is available for 99¢.
Robin Mark is a worship leader at a vital evangelical church in Belfast. He has the heart of an Irishman… and lives to connect people with the heart of God.
Whenever my runs are solo (most of the time), I run with Robin. Come, Heal this Land puts words to his prayer for Northern Ireland; I join his chorus while I grieve for America’s cultural path as we careen away from God’s standards. An excerpt: “Does a cry ring out from a broken nation; from a people who have been brought low. Was pride in our hearts? Did we grieve Your Spirit? Have we blocked the ancient wells that flowed. Here is our covenant prayer, who call upon Your name. We humble ourselves before You; we humble ourselves. Come heal this land, come heal this land! Come heal this land, come heal this land…”
Schedule your Summer Sabbath. Breathe. Read. Sing. Reconnect. Come back better. And… join me in wondering: some day, will someone write, How the Americans Saved Civilization?