Summertime Should Be Mindful Time

family in Summer

Can you believe that Summer is here! If you are reading this outside of the US, Summer might not be as near, but here in the States we just celebrated the unofficial start to Summer, Memorial Day weekend. Pools are open, grills are cleaned, and school is coming to a close. We just spent a day remembering those who gave their lives in service to our country. Today, we must not forget them, but it is time to live in the freedom their sacrifice helped provide. But, thinking about those who have passed away made me think about how important it is to be mindful of those who are with us today since they will not be with us forever.

In fact, Summer is an important time to be mindful of our relationships and make time to be with those who mean something to us. Being good stewards of our time means we make the time to connect with each other. Quality time is not just time filled with activities, but also time filled with conversation and resting in each other’s presence. We can too easily become comfortable giving little or no real attention to others in our lives. We become engrossed in our cell phones, video games, Netflix, etc.

Mindfulness helps us not take others for granted. We try to always stay aware of where we are and who is near us. We are able to more easily see opportunities to connect in a meaningful way with those we care about. We realize that the time presented to us each day will not come again, so we really try to seize the day.

It is so important to remember those who have passed from this life. Their earthly existence help to shape the meaning for our lives. However, it is tragic if we disregard those who are still with us. If only our love prevented us from wasting time. But we are human. We must choose to share our love for it cannot share itself. We need to use our time wisely, for time is a precious gift we have in limited supply.

 

Jesus is the Melody

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) 2016

eucharist2

When I was younger, for many years I helped lead the music for our parish liturgies. The “more grand” liturgies stand out to me: First Communion, Confirmation, Christmas, etc. It was at one of those First Communion Masses where I learned an important lesson.

As musicians at liturgy, you really play a key role in providing a sense of movement to the entire experience. Between moments of spoken prayer and petition, you provide a way for all assembled to pray with song. Sometimes, you make decisions at the moment for the sake of keeping the liturgy “moving.”

When it was time for Communion, we played throughout the entire time, and I did not allow a time for us as musicians to receive ourselves. I had hoped that this would be noticed and after our playing had concluded, someone would offer us the Eucharist. They didn’t. At first I thought, “Unfortunately, that’s just the way it goes.” One of our musicians did not see it that way and was upset. He said to me, “What am I here for anyway?”

My assumption without thinking much about it that day was that our presence was to lead music. However, I had missed it. Even though we played an important role at the liturgy, the reason we were there was Jesus. No matter how beautiful our music could be or how well the congregation sang, our primary purpose of being there was just like everyone else’s: Jesus.

Our stewardship is very important, but at no time does it become the main thing. Our generosity and commitment of ourselves points to that which matters the most. When we lose sight of why we are doing something and whom we are doing it for, our actions can become hollow. The music of our efforts offers praise to the One who makes that melody even possible in the first place.