Do you remember the feeling of being tucked into a quilt or an afghan or a comforter, bundled up against a bitter winter with a cup of cocoa and a nice, quiet novel? Do you remember drowsing by a quietly crackling fire as the wind howls over the rooftop?
Do you remember a lazy summer day on a hammock or a rocking chair or a bank of grass, sunlight pouring onto you, and the sound of a soft breeze with just a hint of dust wafting over you? Or maybe it was lying on a beach towel, with the sea breeze playing in the sand.
There is a state – a state of being and a state of mind in which we, in our modern, hyperconnected, fast-paced world no longer fully participate – called rest. It’s a critical part of our biology and a key part of our overall health. Getting enough sleep, taking downtime, having leisure to breathe – rest is an absolutely critical component of our well-being.
Rest is so important, in fact, that it was woven deeply into the liturgical and daily fabric of the life of God’s people, Israel. Every seventh day Israel was a sabbath to keep holy, a day of rest, in which they would do no work. Every seventh year the ground would lie fallow – nothing would be planted, and the whole of the land would rest. In the Psalms we find the Hebrew word selah – it means a pause, or a breath – in musical terms, a rest.
For St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, this is that season. A time to reflect and refresh and renew. These next few weeks and months, the seasons of Ordinary Time and Lent, from now through March 29, will be time of rest for the church. Big things are afoot – large projects, new initiatives, and, in God’s own time, a new pastor. Now is our time, our chance to take deep breaths. To listen to God’s creation whirl around us. To rest.
Breathe, my friends and neighbors. God is working marvelous things in you – and he does it best when you take the time to rest.