Dear friends in Christ,
This coming Sunday, we’ll hear the Ten Commandments as the first lesson in church. And, at least in the church I’m serving on Sundays, we hear those commandments recited at the start of the liturgy every Sunday in Lent.
I love hearing this succinct set of laws that tell us how to live as God’s people. There are commandments to honor God and to honor other people.
It always strikes me that right up there with “do not murder” and “do not steal” is this one:
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work.
As a culture, I think we’re pretty good at ignoring that one. We feel like we need to stay productive all the time. There’s always a to-do list. Emails and notifications are always waiting.
But when God set out to boil down the ways to live to just ten laws, the commandment to rest was included. That suggests it’s pretty important.
To rest is a completely counter-cultural idea, and that’s why we need to do it. Resting means that we believe there’s something more important than what we accomplish. Resting means that we can simply bask in the glory of God’s love for us and all creation.
When Bishop Michael Curry introduced the Episcopal Church to the Way of Love, he identified seven spiritual practices that are essential for following Jesus. Rest is one of the seven, and I have a chapter with concrete advice on how to rest for busy people in my latest book, The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus.
I know rest is a struggle for me, and, looking around, I know I’m not alone. But it is God’s will for us, and God knows what is best for us. I hope we can all slow down and rest, for God’s sake and ours.
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