by the Rev Dick Watson, Associated Minister at All Saints, Ilkley

With the summer holidays in full swing and the sun shining again, it’s a good time to do something different.

For some that may be to raise their level of exertion and general activity, be it through cycling, swimming, walking, climbing and so on; whilst for others it may be to take a well-earned rest from their weekly labours.

Next week, from August 13 to 17, children of primary school age are invited to attend the Holiday Club, provided by Ilkley’s Churches Together, at St John’s in Ben Rhydding where fun and fellowship can be enjoyed to the full.

Meanwhile during this current week over a hundred young people from Ilkley, of secondary school age, are enjoying an action-packed Venture Holiday in Cumbria that includes tree-top trekking, canoeing, climbing and water skiing, as well as allowing times for refreshment of body, mind and spirit.

August, for most, means long days with no school and time to wind down from the frenetic pace of our normal routines and it provides an opportunity to focus on family time, barbecues, the beach, strawberries and ice cream.

However, while summer is a season, it is also a state of mind. We all have periods in life which are summer-like when life goes well. But, as the proverb says 'All sunshine makes a desert'. Summer should build us up and help us to prepare for the autumn and winter seasons of life.

When we encounter times of sickness, financial hardship, difficult relationships, or other problems we need to be mindful of God’s sustaining strength to help us through, whatever the season.

How can we make the most then, of this summer-season?

I believe we need to maintain an attitude of gratitude - thankful to God for his blessings to us, for our daily food, fresh air, beautiful countryside, as well as for our homes, family and friends.

In the Book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, God’s people were instructed 'to praise the Lord for all that He had given them, and to be careful not to forget the Lord your God.' (Deut8.v10/11)

Similarly, if we are to make the most of our summertime we should stay close to God and stay grateful to Him throughout all the seasons of our lives.