“Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread….”
Bilbo Baggins to Gandalf, from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien
Yep, that pretty much describes what I’ve been feeling….no, this is not a post where I am whining and complaining, rather I am becoming consciously aware that the signs for rest have been there and in my busyness I have ignored them.
I’ve been studying about the Sabbath rest….how God balanced work and rest in a healthy rhythm. He created for six days and then guiltlessly ceased from His labor on the 7th. He stepped back from all of it and feasted, enjoyed all that He had done. I am realizing even more that He designed me/us for the need to pause, to be restored and to rest. The need for Sabbath.
Tilden Edwards in his book, Sabbath Time, says that we should find a balance between surrendering to the busy demands of our culture and totally withdrawing from it. “Christian Sabbath”, he writes, “refers both to a special day of the week, and to a special quality of time available daily.” It is in this structural and symbolic context that I am beginning to practice Sabbath rest.
Author Abraham Heschel also describes the Sabbath as the state wherein we lie still, where the weary are at rest. He speaks about how we have fallen victim to the work of our hands, and he cautions that we have neglected the pursuit of the eternal in the pursuit of the temporary.
Sadly, sometimes I work more than I sabbath because I believe that I am somehow earning extra points with God. I must always be doing, laboring, working, striving. The Holy Spirit has to remind me that God’s grace, not my work, has secured my standing. Christ invites me to slow down. And so when I read Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”, the words pierce my heart with joy as I drag my weary soul around….
It is in the quietness that Christ whispers to my soul, “Welcome to the grace that offers rest.”
Because it is in this grace that I begin to put into practice and receive the spirit of sabbath rest. It begins to bring balance to my soul. God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” So that means that any place where God reveals Himself is holy ground….
And I really understood for the first time today that the Sabbath was the first thing God declared to be holy. God declared His work on the first six days as good, but He named the day of rest as “holy”. It’s these Sabbath moments when I take the time to catch my breath that God reveals Himself…and these moments are holy….and just like Moses I remove my sandals.
“Rest is a decision we make. Rest is
choosing to do nothing when we have too much to do, slowing down
when we feel pressure to go faster, stopping instead of
starting. Rest is listening to our weariness
and responding to our tiredness, not what is making us tired.
Rest is what happens when we say one simple