The Gift of a Sacred Summer… OPEN THE GIFT OF REST
38 Jesus and his disciples went on their way. Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha lived. She welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Don’t you care? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. “You are worried and upset about many things. 42 But few things are needed. Really, only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. And it will not be taken away from her.”
Are you feeling more like Mary or Martha these days?
What would it be like to intentionally play, to rest at the feet of Jesus?
What would that look like in your life?
Could you actually choose to rest with Jesus this summer?
Why is it so hard for us to rest?
Why do we feel guilty when we are not being productive?
What makes us think that rest isn’t valuable? Or necessary?
The God of the entire universe created REST! And God actually RESTED! God also put REST in the middle of the ten commandments. God believed that we needed rest in order to love our neighbors.
We cannot really love or serve or protect others or ourselves when we are burned out and exhausted!
I have said this a lot in recent days. I’m exhausted! I think we all are exhausted! I’m not even sure we understand what this past year has done to us. It’s been a very tiring 15 months… and for many, the exhaustion is continuing as the pandemic is still with us and people are still getting sick and dying. We need time to pause and process these past months. We need time to refill our cups even as we are excited about getting back to more normal activities.
How can you choose to open the gift of REST this summer? How can you choose to PRACTICE REST?
We have to practice a spiritual practice like REST, just like we practice the piano or guitar.
What things block you from practicing rest?
How would a practice of REST restore you? What things bring you joy? What things fill up your cup?All these can be included in your rest practice, not just taking a good rest on the couch or long nap.
Here are some other ideas to help you practice REST this summer:
FIND A REST SPOT: Choose or create a spot to practice rest this summer. A place where you can be with God and be intentionally present with Jesus. A place that can be your spot to be still, to pray, to create, read, and rest. Maybe you already have a designated spot where you meet with Jesus each day. But if you don’t, consider choosing a special place for yourself. It might mean moving a chair to a different spot with a view out the window. It might be a rocking chair on your porch or balcony. It might mean creating a rest space on the floor with pillows and blankets. Or, if you have room, putting up a tent or a hammock in the yard and using the outdoors as your Sacred Space for the summer. If you have young kids you might want to create this space together. Tricia Hersey, @thenapministry on Instagram, talks about creating a “rest island” out of your bed so kids can be on Rest Island with mom or dad and their object is to rest, breathe, ans be still. It’s great to teach kids early the value of rest.
MAKE A SABBATH BOX: Use a large basket with a lid, or a cardboard box with a lid, or any box/container you choose to be your Sabbath Box. Decide to put away your phone, your laptop, the remote, or game controllers for a set length of time in order to rest and be present to God. In Jewish homes, the Sabbath Box is used for the 24 hours of Shabbat putting in it anything that distracts from time with God. I suggest keeping a pad of paper or post it notes and a pen next to your sabbath box. Then anything that feels distracting, thoughts, worries, fears, or To-Do’s that will keep you from resting and being present to Jesus can be written down and put in the box and given to Jesus/God to hold for you while your rest!
CREATE A PLAYLIST: Create a summer playlist that will help you truly rest. What songs would help you rest, relax, and breathe?
PLAN A SABBATH DAY or afternoon: What would your perfect sabbath day look like? What would you do or not do? What would restore your soul? Talk to Jesus about this. Talk to your friends or family about how you could have an actual sabbath rest day.
CREATE A REST COLLAGE, PRAYER, POEM or ART RESPONSE: Consider what rest and sabbath mean to you and create something in response to this. Ask Jesus for inspiration.
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There’s almost no such thing as ready. There’s only now. And you may as well do it now. I mean, I say that confidently as if I’m about to go bungee jumping or something – I’m not. I’m not a crazed risk taker. But I do think that, generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”
“Each of us needs an opportunity to be alone, and silent. To find space in the day or in the week, just to reflect
and to listen to the voice of God that speaks deep with us. Our search for God is only our response to his search for us. He knocks on the door,
but for many people their lives are too preoccupied for
them to be able to hear.” Cardinal Basil Hume (Benedictine monk, England 1923-1999)
REMEMBER THIS FROM JESUS: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 THE MESSAGE
LET’S PRAY TOGETHER:(actually breathe in these things)
Jesus, I Breathe deeply in the gift of rest. I Breathe out fear.
I Breathe deeply in the gift of rest. I Breathe out busyness.
I Breathe in the gift of rest. I Breathe out stress.
I Breathe in permission to rest.
I Breathe out weariness.
I receive the invitation, Jesus, Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.
Thank you for the gift of rest. AMEN
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