Most of us are in need of rest, probably a deeper rest than we can imagine. We are just too busy. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, or maybe it’s simply in our DNA to work and play too hard. We aren’t a sedentary culture that I know of! We are on the move! So It’s no surprise that people are hungry for rest and thirsty for stillness.
The other day I was reading in my Lenten devotional about the importance of “sabbath rest” . I thought, “Yes, I really need that.” It said to give your self the gift of an hour, or half a day, or a whole day tending to sabbath. I felt really committed to the idea, but it wasn’t meant to be that day. Ironically just when I thought I would rest and walk and find some silence, I got called in to the hospital for an extra long day. It was twilight when I finally got outside. Why is the possibility of resting often the first thing to get tossed aside?
Jesus found deep rest as he traveled. Away from the crowds or up on the mountain, he would often stop to rest and pray. The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus went to a deserted place to rest awhile. Luke tells us that Jesus walked through dry places, seeking rest. Jesus modeled quiet prayerful time and encouraged us to “find rest for our souls”. Yet his invitation was more expansive than that. Jesus expressed that we who are heavy laden should come to him for rest. As in the Gospel of Matthew, “Come unto me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We really don’t have to look very far for a source of deep rest.
The deep rest that God provides us is very near, just as God’s presence is very near. God’s invitation is always here, like arms wide open, under God’s protective wingspan. Perhaps rest will come to you in a refreshing nap, or a visit with a friend, or in a walk around the block. The deep rest of the holy is calling to you, seeking you wherever you are.
Spend time in the quiet and some time in nature. Go watch lake ice melt and listen to the birds. As the Psalm says, “Wait patiently and rest in God.”
Rev. Sally Maxwell,
Priest in Charge,
St. James Episcopal,