“Therefore, we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1
When our Habitat mission team was in Costa Rica, after our work was done we drifted down a mostly lazy river with occasional rapids. We find something like that eminently pleasing in the warm weather. When I went to church camp as a boy, we spent one afternoon in canoes drifting down the Manistee River, which was peaceful. Except when a harmless black snake dropped out of a tree into the canoe of girls in front of us.
We can drift upon the water. We can drift in the breezes, if we are in a balloon. We can drift upon a pile of leaves in the autumn or upon the fresh-fallen snow, light on our skis.
Being adrift is something different than the kind of drift that gives us rest and repose. We are adrift when we are going through the motions, when we act like nothing much is at stake in life, when we disengage and check out from the things mattering most to us.
I am adrift when I don’t pay attention and forget appointments or other commitments; when I drift into sloppy habits that don’t make me healthier or better–eating too much, drinking too much, procrastinating too much, or complaining too much. A sign of being adrift is the encroaching feeling that what we say and do doesn’t matter. Another sure sign of adrift is when we become experts in what is wrong with others but neglect our own lives. It is always lazy to want to improve others but not to work upon ourselves.
Summer is great for, say, the tranquil drift of burrowing deeply into a hammock with a book. I suggest you find one or a favorite equivalent within your own spiritual universe. But it is too easy to become adrift in summer, to skip the essential touchpoints, habits, and relationships that make us better and happier than we are left to our own devices.
Growing up, we were regular churchgoers, even in the summer when everyone else from church was in northern Michigan at their cabins. I recall our family skipping church one Sunday, and expected that week would feel like a windfall. I was shocked when I felt out of sorts and off my game and not quite right all week, even as a grade schooler. It was then that I realized all of those simple little rites and ceremonies of worship every Sunday have power to shape and mold us in ways we cannot see and seldom realize.
My friend Tony Robinson writes, “Because God has created this world and Christ has entered fully into this life, our lives and what we do matters. They make a difference. You make a difference. Drift happens when we think otherwise. That’s a lie. What you do, what you say, matters.” It’s true, Tony, even in the slowest and most relaxed times!
In that spirit, I know we are not going be able to claim you every Sunday, as you are traveling and on vacation. But may I suggest you checking in with us at worship now and again? Hey, you might even find it restful, refreshing,