Do we know how to rest?

Rest:

  1.  a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities

  2. a :  freedom from activity or laborb :  a state of motionlessness or inactivity; c :  the repose of death

Rest. One of the hardest things to come by in today’s plugged-in society. We live in a world where if you’re not on your phone checking Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, then you’re not doing anything productive. Even on our days off, we check our emails and play with our phones as if we are going to miss out on something big.

When is the last time you truly rested?

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus would often take time away from the crowds. In fact, in Mark 1, Jesus goes into the wilderness for 40 days – praying in the silence, in solitude, fasting and meditating on Scripture. Jesus did this before he began what we would call his “public ministry”; which are the details of his life we read about most often in the Gospels.

Later on, in the very same chapter of Mark, Jesus arose in the middle of the night to walk around Capernaum, to pray. Jesus found time to to retreat. To pray and to connect with God. He would leave the disciples and reconnect with God. Reconnect with what his ministry was. He would actively seek out ways to step away from the crowds and the demands of ministry and he would rest.

Again, when is the last time you truly rested?

I have been intentional in my new ministry to not check my emails on my off-days. I have found that those of in “church work” are expected to be on 24/7, 365. Yes, there are some who will be plugged in, easy to reach and ready to drop things to be at an event. I applaud those people. I want to ask them: “How can you fill the cup of others, if you don’t have time to fill your own? How can you help others connect to the Divine when you don’t make space for yourself to connect?”.

Two weeks ago, I went on vacation. I went to NYC and spent a few days with my friend Heidi and her lovely dogs Porkchop and Fern. It was nice to not check my emails. It was nice to sit in the sunshine and read as much of a book as I wanted to. I went to the Statue of Liberty and walked around the city. I ate good food, I hung out with friends and laughed. I came away from vacation feeling renewed, rested and ready to enter the period of Lent with a heart ready for the journey. 

Then I got the stomach flu.

I won’t go into the details, but I was forced to rest. It drove me a bit crazy. I busied myself from my couch and sent countless texts to a coworker asking for details and to be filled in.

When is the last time you truly rested?

Can you remember the last time you felt a weight lifted off of your shoulders? When was the last time that you didn’t feel like you had to be “on”? What was it like the last time you felt like you were able to sit and read? When did you last have time to connect with God in nature? Or through music?

Find time to rest. Find a way to retreat; to the garden, the mountainside, the shore and the backyard. Unplug from the noise. Spend some time in the silence. God does not always talk to us in the form of a burning bush, sometimes it is a quiet whisper. This Lent, I challenge you to find ways to reconnect with God. Amen.

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