The Radical Trust of Rest – A Feast for the Soul

by Christine Sine

Saturday morning here in Sydney and our time in Australia is almost at an end. Tomorrow we celebrate my mother’s 89th birthday then get ready to head home to Seattle on Tuesday. This is that bitter sweet time of any visit like this – longing to be home yet hating to leave.

During our visit I have reread Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson, a great book for a break like this because it is one that invites much reflection and contemplation. Part of what really impacted me this time is her understanding of contemplative prayer as absorption in loving God with our whole being …resting in God and allowing the Spirit to fill and move us as God wills… God calls us to the radical trust of rest. (Kindle 718)

It is that phrase the radical trust of rest that has really caught my attention. In a world of noise and busyness where performance and consumption are the measurement of our success, rest has little significance. Some of us recognize our need for Sabbath rest but don’t quite know how to accomplish it – a whole day set aside to enjoy God, friends and God’s creation seems like an extravagant waste of time. And indeed it is. The rest of God is so counter to our culture. It is so resisted by our society and often laughed at by our colleagues…even within the church.

Yet I am more convinced than ever that we cannot enter fully into the presence of God unless we do so in a place of rest. It is only in the place of rest that we can give God our full attention.

To learn to love God with our whole being and allow that love to absorb our attention to the exclusion of all else requires the radical trust of rest. Unless we can let go of our busyness, not just in our activities but in the inner turmoil of our minds, we will never find true intimacy with God. And that letting go requires a lot of trust. We must trust that God’s purposes will be accomplished even if we are not frenetically busy. We must trust that God still loves us even when we sit doing nothing more than appreciating him and praising him. And it means trusting that the God who loves us far more deeply and passionately than we can ever imagine longs to hold us close in the quietness and peace of rest.

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11 comments

mark lloyd richardson June 8, 2012 - 7:42 pm

Marjorie Thompson is a wonderful writer, and I like her understanding of contemplative prayer. There is an essential place for Sabbath rest in the Christian life.

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Christine Sine June 11, 2012 - 6:45 pm

Amen to that – and I love the way that she expands it beyond Sunday as Sabbath to sabbath rests throughout the day

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Micha Jazz June 8, 2012 - 11:18 pm

Thanks, Christine. I agree with you and strangely over dinner with friends last night was talking about the ‘impossible chink’ in my spiritual quest. It revolves around the challenge of finding sufficient income to stand still in an economy in which prices continue to rise. The response is how to find the extra income to meet such price increases.

This is where the temptation to over committing and over working floods into my world and seeks to disrupt my rhythm with God. And it does disrupt it at two levels. One with increased anxiety over income generation – a battle of mind and heart – and secondly it sets me to looking for more income generation, again a threat to the rhythm of contemplation.

I am a contemplative activist since securing a balance between these two aspects of my walk with God generates a creative rhythm. Yet deep within I own a ferocious fear about failing to secure appropriate and sufficient income. This is now the central focus of my conversation with God, and I need to practically slay the dragon within.

Much of the flow of my rhythm expressed through writing, prayer and sitting alongside broken individuals listening and praying can never become income generating. Yet this I know is what God increasingly asks of me.

The landscape opens up before me and I know my quest and I know my challenge. May God grant me both lift and sight. Enjoy a lovely day with your mother and safe travels back to Seattle. MJ

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Christine Sine June 11, 2012 - 6:44 pm

Blessings Micha – I know exactly that terrible pull of doing more because we need more income. Tom & I face it all the time. I find that more and more places expect us to speak for free & as you said prices continue to rise. Learning to trust that God will provide in the midst of these challenges is not easy. Blessings on you in all that you continue to do. Would love to see you in Seattle again.

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Claire Russell June 9, 2012 - 1:07 am

Once again food for my soul – thank you… to hear echoes of my longings for space to ‘be’ and ‘breathe’ here is so encouraging. Must read ‘Soul Feast’…

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Christine Sine June 11, 2012 - 6:41 pm

Claire so glad that it spoke to you – now all I need to do is to remember the lessons when I am back in Seattle

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earthma June 9, 2012 - 1:40 am

Brilliant, and I love the pic, but ironically, it reminds of the time I did the same thing with bag under head in Barcelona, and was dozing to be woken by a youth pulling my bag away from me…this was in the big central park, with Police in view!

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Christine Sine June 11, 2012 - 7:48 pm

Hmm, i am sure that we could find some spiritual lesson in that – maybe something about how the world tries to pull our God given rest out from under us. Hope that you got your bag back

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Shelly June 9, 2012 - 7:23 am

Reblogged this on onbeingmindful and commented:
YES!!! Complete rest in God…complete submission to God and His will…his Spirit filling us completely.

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Shelly June 9, 2012 - 7:25 am

I put Soul Feast on my Amazon wish list…thank you for this post.

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Christine Sine June 11, 2012 - 6:40 pm

Your welcome – this is a book that is well worth reading through several times

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