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A Prayer For the Good Use of Leisure

By Rev. Chris Harris

 

Leave it to The Book of Common Prayer to offer us a prayerful, faithful frame for just about every aspect of life. If you have never thumbed through the back of the Episcopal prayer book (that little red book in the pews that looks like a bible), I encourage you to do so sometime. In fact, feel free to take a Book of Common Prayer home with you as you leave worship, or click here for an online version. Among its many wonderful resources are prayers for just about every occasion beginning on page 810: birthdays, elections, our government, our country, the unemployed, the lonely, those struggling with addiction, and on and on.

One of the prayers that has always stood out to me is a prayer for The Good Use of Leisure. Having just finished my own summer vacation, I thought might commend it everyone as we each look for some respite this summer. The prayer has always been a reminder to me that recreation is an opportunity for re-creation. It speaks to our need to renew and refresh our bodies, our minds, our relationships, etc. so that we might restore and even re-create ourselves with new energy, new imagination, and new inspiration for the reign of God that we seek to usher in.

O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of

refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our

leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our

spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

As I reflect on my own use of leisure over these last few weeks, the moments of re-creation I experienced happened not during our cruise to Bermuda (which was more akin to a 7-day visit to an amusement park to be honest!), but rather during far less grandiose moments: Lazy mornings with my coffee, dinner with friends, reading a good book, cooking meals that Joe loves, finishing little projects around the house, and playing silly games like “the floor is lava” with the girls. (Which involves me stacking up rows of cushions in the back yard and the girls squealing with joy as they try to jump from one to another without falling in the “lava” i.e. the lawn!)

It was in those little, innocuous moments where there was little or no agenda, where I could give myself over to an activity that had little or no consequence, that I found myself most present to the moment God was giving me. It was in those moments, that I found myself being refreshed and reminded of the goodness of God’s creation that is all around us, and the blessings of life, right in front of us when we have eyes to see.

How are you re-creating this summer? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments!


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