Holy rest is an important spiritual practice for all

Published 9:06 am Friday, November 8, 2013

By the Rev. Matt Williams
Oakland and Moscow Lutheran churches

“Today we are so busy!”

As a pastor I hear this statement time and time again. When we look for folks to volunteer to help in areas or when we plan events it is a chorus that gets repeated over and over again. Whether it is work, family, children’s activities or so many other things we are busy people — and that includes our pastors. We schedule every hour of every day and I even know people who literally put their hours of sleep on their electronic calendars so they know when it is time to sleep. And the concept of free time is becoming a thing of the past.

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Yet, as I have come to see in my own ministry and life amongst the people in this area, I am coming to realize that free time is something we all need. For our spiritual health, physical health and emotional health — we need this free time. It is a nurturing time and a freeing opportunity for us to grow in our relationships with God and with one another.

In fact, this free time is so important that God actually commanded us to take this time for ourselves. Remember the Sabbath Day! Jesus set this example for us time and time again throughout the Gospels. So often we read about Jesus going off — by himself — to pray. So if Jesus needed time to himself, then we definitely that time for ourselves as well.

Holy rest is an important spiritual practice that has been lost in our culture of busyness today. But the good news is that God doesn’t give up on us. He is there reminding us to take that Sabbath time regularly.

And when we do stop and take a step back from the busyness of life, it gives us the opportunity to focus on areas in our lives that need attending to. Whether it is building relationships or exercising your body or mind — taking time to do these things is important. Even if it means missing church on Sunday morning every once and awhile!

As we take time and attend to our own health, taking that time, then we are then also able to put things in perspective. We are able to see what really is important in life. And that is the gift of the Sabbath and why God calls us to it on a regular basis.

So then I encourage you, when life has you so busy you can’t even see straight — step back, take a deep breath and listen! And you will be amazed at how God will reach out to you.

Blessings to you all on the week to come.