Whether its Gershwin’s classic ‘Summertime… and the living is easy…’, Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’ or the latest summer chart sensation, the songsters always seem to capture the spirit of the season we are in.

And, busy though we all still are, it’s true that there is something about light nights and sunny weather that can lift our spirits, lighten our mood and put us in a more relaxed frame of mind. Out comes the lawnmower, garden furniture and barbecue – cafés and bars sprout tables on pavements and pub gardens overflow with people.

With the opportunities longer days afford, summer is a great time to be with family and friends.

It is a good time to be spontaneous – taking those opportunities that naturally come along day to day as we listen for and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. Opportunities to get to know people, express interest in their lives, show kindness and love in practical ways, eat together, laugh together and share our lives and faith.

It is also good to be intentional – allowing the Holy Spirit to remind us of those who are on their own, or who are coping with the kids over the long school holidays. Remembering those who are new to our church family or the neighbours who have just moved in near us. It’s a good time to renew or deepen our friendships with neighbours, who we often don’t see through the dark winter months. Summer is a time when people are perhaps more open to chat; a good time to have those conversations you have been meaning to have but never got around to. If you are feeling radical, then maybe even rise to the challenge Jesus gave to one surprised dinner host – to think beyond our usual list and invite someone who might not be able to invite you back? (Luke 14:12-14)

Let’s be like Jesus – he loved people and he loved a good party…and still does! Seize the moment – make that invitation! Let’s open the doors – of our hearts, our homes, our diaries and maybe the gates of our gardens, and make this summer one of purposefully investing in relationships. The summer weather may come and go (hoping that it comes in the first place) but relationships are of lasting value.

Jonathan Lloyd