Pastor’s Column – Mar 2023

Pastor’s Column – Mar 2023

“Mother and Daughter Resting” by donnierayjones is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.

Psalm 4:7-8

“e believe rest is luxury, privilege, and an extra treat we can give to ourselves after suffering from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Rest isn’t a luxury, but an absolute necessity. Rest is a divine right. Rest is a human right. Rest must interrupt.

Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia
Hersey, pg. 60

Are you feeling tired? Do you need a nap but given your work schedule, doctor’s appointments, family errands, or anxiety level you find it difficult or impossible to rest? I can say with certainty that you are not alone. As I check-in with you all before and after worship, at meetings or during home visits it is clear that there is a collective need for rest going around. With a 2 year-old and an 11 month-old, Lord knows I am feeling it with you too.

Our world moves so fast. We must be producing something. We must keep moving to be successful or to be happy or have purpose. The popularized term for this is grind culture. We must stay busy so we can earn our rest. When I get through this season at work, I will rest. When I go on vacation I will rest. When I retire I will rest. When the kids get older I will rest. Work load lightens, you go on vacation, you retire and you are wondering, why can’t I just rest?

A carefree glance at scripture will reveal a consistent and persistent theology of rest. God rested on the 7th day. Think about that, even God rested! On Sinai God told Moses that every seventh year the fields and the land need an entire year to rest and with the land so too the laborers. The good shepherd makes their sheep lie down in green pastures. Jesus says that with him “you will find rest for your souls.” Through the ages Christian mystics most frequently use the word “rest” when attempting to communicate their encounter with the divine.

Our bodies are ancient. They really aren’t designed to go and go like they do today. God knew that all of creation had to learn to rest to fully live as God intended them to live. To rest is to be human again. The season of Lent gives us an opportunity to interrupt any false notions that we do not deserve rest. In a season centered on pausing, listening, reflecting, we can reclaim our need to be restored by God. When we take time to clear our mind and just breathe we are creating a sacred space. When we go for a walk and just listen to the birds or distant wind chimes, we are creating a sacred space. When we have a conversation with God or choose to sit silently with God, we are creating a sacred space.

So, if you are still searching for a spiritual discipline this season, try taking more naps. You need it. God knows you need it, and you do not need to be on a beach or wait 10 years to experience it. It is available to you right now. As I end with Psalm 4:7-8, I invite you to rest with each line.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace…

For you alone…
O Lord…
Make me lie down…
In safety…

Blessings for your journey,
Rev. Keith McDevitt