Sunday, January 27, 2008

Finding Rest

I’m sitting in Starbucks between meetings, listening to the hum diverse voices that surround me. There are college students chatting over weekend events, students trying hard not to be distracted by others around them as they attempt to read and write for projects with what are probably quickly approaching deadlines. There is a father and son enjoying a nice afternoon chat, a “boys day out” as they talk about the many activities they could do with Mom gone for a day. Then of course young couples… some are new, others seem settled and comfortable, enjoying a casual chat- something no different from many days, I'm sure. Others sit alone or even at tables together with others while paying one another no attention; some are surfing the net, some are reading, others talking on the phone to people far away from here…

Sundays are a lovely day to do just this. To enjoy time in a coffee shop, away from the hustle and bustle and rush that seems to fill the rest of our world. I sit and type and watch those around me as I’ve made myself comfortable in a big, soft chair with my computer on my lap. A good friend sits in a similar chair opposite of me, and as we sip our latte’s, we are finding time to rest. To just be. To share the moment in the most distant and peaceful of ways, while looking up from our thoughts only enough to share the next funny or ridiculous comment or thought or an occassional statement from the Chicago Tribune. I love Sundays.

I preached this morning at Holy Covenant. We’re in the middle of yet another sermon series- this on finding ways to live a full Christian life. This week’s topic was “How to Rest.” I think of sermons on resting and realize that the last thing I want to hear- let alone preach- is another sermon on the Sabbath and how none of us take it but all of us should. So today was different, and I enjoyed the opportunity to work through and share my reflections on what it means to live a restful life.

Living a restful life. Not just taking a Sabbath once each week, but truly finding ways to be restful throughout our week, in all that we do. Christ says to us, “Come to me, all who are weary and broken and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” What can we do in our lives to seek and accept that kind of rest that only Christ can offer to us throughout the week… not just on Sundays or whichever other day we have designated as our day of Sabbath?

Finding Sabbath- truly finding rest- is a practice that almost all Christians struggle with. Yet it is so essential to our lives. It shapes us from the inside out- it shapes us in ways that are interconnected to one another as it forms us spiritually, emotionally, even physically as we learn to fully care for ourselves. In the past couple of years I have grown into the practice of taking a day of Sabbath each week. But finding rest in God- finding the kind of rest that Christ has called us to in this passage- is about more than that. Its about finding assurance and hope and a deep sense of peace that only God can provide for us in even the smallest details of our every day lives. Its about living a fully Christian life in all that we do and living in harmony with that life in such a way that we are truly fulfilled in it...

This morning, I was preaching to myself. Like many of those I was preaching to, I live a very busy, chaotic life. I always have something more to do- another meeting to go to, another paper to write, another phone call I need to return. I’m busy, the chaos I live with six days each week makes it only more important that I keep my Sabbath day each week. Yet I hope that in the weeks to come, I can learn what it means to be restful and live peacefully with all that I do. Maybe it starts with saying “no” more often. Maybe it means being more prayerful and intentional in all that I do. Or maybe I need to find my “closet” to which I can escape for even a brief moment of rest in the midst of activities I find myself in the center of. Because no matter where I am or what I am doing, when I am (we are) weary, broken, or tired, Christ is waiting for us to simply “come” that we might find rest. And I have a sneaky suspicion Christ wants us to come more than just on our one day of Sabbath each week.

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