Kids are out of school and the Southern California heat is starting turn up. It​ i​s an exciting time that brings long days, late nights, adventures, and freedom!

Like many living in San Diego, I did not grow up here. I’m a transplant from Oregon. The ​Pacific Northwest is a magical place in the summer time. Memories ​from the summers of my childhood are precious.

I grew up in a typical middle-class neighborhood next to a park and schools. This neighborhood had a lot of kids all about the same age. During the summers while the grown ups did their thing, the kids took over the street and played baseball, kick​-the-​can​,​ or whatever fabulous game we invented until the sun went down.

At the end of our street was a small cemetery where we would often play. ​Strange as it ​may ​sound, we ​kept​ ourselves pretty entertained​!​ At the end of the cemetery ​there were​ railroad tracks that had a filbert orchard on the other side. At the end of the orchard was the Calapooia River where we would often go down and swim for ​the​ afternoon. We would take a large 5​-​gallon bucket with us and fill it with wild blackberries, perfect for pies​…or for ​gorging.

Down the river a little way ​was a ​City park with an outdoor stage. ​On summer ​Fridays ​they held​ free concerts called River Rhythms. It was great! We​ would​ go a little early, like everyone else, and put down a big blanket on the grass and eat dinner while listening to the music. Sometimes we’d go for a swim before the concert started. It was guaranteed that you would run into at least 10 people you knew from town, or the town over, and maybe hang out on their blanket for a little while.

​T​he last concert of the season​ was not a River Rhythms​ you wanted to miss as it included a fireworks show. One musician that sticks out in my mind was Richie Havens. I remember him playing his Freedom song, that was played at the original Woodstock, and telling the crowd that we didn​’​t have to pay our taxes.

Hopefully we all have fond ​childhood ​memories of ​summertime freedoms. ​Summer can be a​n allegory​ of another type of freedom​, and it is this​ ‘childhood summer​time freedom’ experience​ that I relate to the freedom Christ brings to us. He has set us free from sin, death, disease, lies, pain, etc. Through His gift of salvation and His Spirit that lives in us​, believers ​​can transcend beyond this ​earthly​ life into the ​life of the Spirit​. What greater freedom is there than to be set free from death!

​The freedom we have in ​Christ ​is a ​tangible experiential feeling — just like ​from ​the summer​s​​ of my youth​. It​ is similar to​ ​my ​experience ​of​ stepping into St. Michael’s Sanctuary or Chapel. I feel a presence there​,​ and it is the Spirit of God.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17

This article was written by Communications Coordinator, Megan Stanton. Photo “Sunset Light on the Willamette” was taken by Pat Knight