Gimme A Break!
Sometimes, even vicars need a break! That may surprise some readers, if we’ve heard the joke that ‘vicars only work one day a week’. In truth, Sunday is usually our 6th day, on top of the 5 we’ve already worked. That catches up with you after a while, and you need to recharge your batteries.
Jesus himself recognised that his co-workers sometimes needed a break. Everywhere he went people wanted a piece of him, seeking solutions of a spiritual and supernatural nature, often through the disciples themselves. Jesus saw the strain that placed on them. Always concerned for their welfare, and setting an example for future Christian workers, he told them it was time for some holiday. Mark 6:31 records him saying, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Most clergy take time off over the summer. That suits me well with a young family. Church life is normally a little quieter during the school holidays (at least it will be, after the holiday club we are running from 25th – 27th July; if readers have children or grandchildren who may be interested). And the university chaplaincy is generally quieter in August as the students are off, which makes it an ideal time to go away.
We like to travel, to see new places. We also try and catch up with family, who miss out on visits during the year due to the weekend-working nature of the job. I have family in Denmark, so we’re spending 10 days in Denmark this summer. We might also go camping for a few days. Suffolk has some great camp sites.
When I’m off, I’m off. I don’t advertise the fact that I’m a vicar by wearing my dog collar. Of course, I’m still a Christian, so I bring my faith on holiday with me - and I’m always ready to share it if people want to talk. That doesn’t change. But the main aim of holiday is refreshment of body, mind and spirit. Which means that in between bike rides, BBQs and swimming in the Baltic, I’ll probably have my nose in my Bible and a variety of other books, some ‘spiritual’, some historical and some fiction. Come September I’ll be back: refreshed, recharged and ready to go again!