“In the cool of the day” – delicious phrase, no? My sister and I got into a habit a few years ago of (to borrow a Jane Austen-esque phrase) “taking a turn”, or two, or three, when I get home from work. Most days around 5:30 p.m., on all but the coldest days of winter, we take a few leisurely laps around the acreage (which is just sufficient enough to pretend for a while that we don’t live smack-dab in the middle of the city). Whether we’re talking about our day or life in general, making plans or just making each other laugh, it’s become a sweet routine. We thoroughly enjoy our beautiful bit of earth, as well; while we walk, we look for the bunnies who live at the edge of the woods, take notice of which flowers are about to bloom, see how the blueberries are coming along, or harvest a few herbs in the kitchen garden. The very best days are in the green, barefoot days of summer, when the sultry southern afternoon gives way to lighter humidity and a noticeably cooler breeze rolls in just ahead of a thunderstorm – I think that feeling will always remind me of simple beauty and the closest fellowship.
As Christ-followers, it seems like we’re always trying to restore the Eden quality of fellowship with God. Walking with Him “in the cool of the day”, as Adam and Eve did, often seems out of reach, yet we have an open invitation. Why do we not avail ourselves more often?
Our culture stereotypes a link between maturity and a forfeiture of simpler things, and I think it can be true of our idea of spiritual maturity as well. As Christians, there are good things happening in our day – many resources; many opportunities to grow intellectually in our faith; political, academic, and social circumstances that are pushing us to “be ready always to give an answer to every man”. However, it is all too easy for these good things to crowd out the basic and fundamental. Prayer. The reading and meditation of Scripture itself. Intentional quiet and communion with God. It’s a most simplistic observation, indeed, but one that I desperately need to be challenged with in all the noise.
The gate is narrow and easily missed, and many hurry past, but our Lord Himself waits in the garden just the same. The cool of the day calls, my friend.