Greetings Dear People of Bethlehem,
I attended a webinar last week and one of the speakers, a pastor by the name of Carrington Moore, spoke about the sabbath, and how we understand rest, in a way that really resonated with me. If you will recall, in Genesis, after God created the heavens and the earth. After the sun, and the moon, and the stars were placed in the sky. After the waters were separated, one from another, and dry land sprang up from the watery deep. After God created vegetation, and all forms of living creatures, including humans, God marked the 7th day as holy, and on that day God rested. Now, while it’s easy to think of this day of rest as an afterthought, an epilogue or postscript, if you will, that is actually not the case at all. Reverend Moore said that, in fact, that sabbath day represented the completion of God’s creation. It was the final chapter, the conclusion. It wasn’t an afterthought, but rather the thing that tied all of it together.
Rest and the sabbath were clearly important to God, important enough to be included in the commandments that were given to Moses. But we have lost our way when it comes to practicing these things. Rev. Moore said, “We often think about rest as a way to help us be more efficient throughout the week. Rest is not its own, simple entity within itself. [The sabbath is] its own creative day [where] we find purpose and value, completion and wholeness … We can’t really value the sabbath for what it is, because we’re looking at the sabbath as a means to an end to be more productive.”
This spoke to my soul, because I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling pretty weary of late. Actually, I do know about you, because so many of you have told me that you have been feeling the same way. Whether it’s stumbling under the weight of increased workloads. Or feeling the effect of the amplified levels of stress and anxiety that exist in our world right now. Or finding yourself spinning round in circles as you try to stay up to date on the latest procedures and protocols. Add onto that all the other stressors that have absolutely nothing to do with COVID and it’s a lot right now. And I think that we all need to hear this word of grace about the true purpose of rest. That rest is not something that you only get to do once you have completed every single thing on your to do list. That rest is not something that is earned. Nor is its only value in relation to the increased productivity that it can facilitate. Rest is sacred and holy and necessary. And what gets defined as “restful” might look very different from one person to another. Whether it’s kayaking or surfing, or sitting on the bluffs watching the ocean, or hiking, or spending time with your friends or family, or sitting in silence, or just taking a nap, it is all holy and it is all beautiful. God knew the stress and strain of constant creation, so even God rested, and implores us to do the same.
Whatever your sabbath looks like, whatever you find to be restful and rejuvenating, I hope that you take time (and if need be, make time) to do a little bit of that this week. And if anyone accuses you of slacking off, just say, “God told me I needed to have a little rest.”
Sabbath well my dear friends,