Dear Friends & Neighbours,
August is traditionally the month for holidays and breaks and down time… but this year it feels very different. For the children there isn’t the usual anticipation of end of term and the whole change of pace and although home schooling will stop, life I guess will feel very much the same. For many of us who usually anticipate some time away, this year will be very different, as most of us look to holiday at home. For all of us, those who have worked throughout the whole of Lock Down in difficult and challenging situations to those of us who have either lost work or been furloughed there is still a real need for a break. The emotional toll of the Pandemic, the Lock Down and the continuing uncertainty of what life will look like going forwards has left many people feeling quite exhausted and in real need of rest. We need some kind of a change of pace and space to replenish and recharge our batteries… a time we can metaphorically pull off the road of normal life, when we can stop and just Be.
God understands our need for rest… and He knows that we need that down time; there’s nothing selfish in having/making time for ourselves He designed us that way. Even Jesus took himself away from the crowds regularly to rest and He took His disciples away too to quiet places where they could just be. I know it’s not necessarily easy to do… to physically find that time and that space… but the bible has three verses which I think are really helpful.
Firstly Matthew 11 verse 28 Jesus says; “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ‘Come’ …it’s an invitation to talk to Jesus about how we feel and what’s going on in our busy lives. It’s an invitation to off load and let go of our weariness. Secondly that wonderful, Psalm 23 that I’m sure many of you will know also speaks to us of God’s love and care and His presence with us through all circumstances. The opening verses from the Good News translations put it like this; “The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. 2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. 3 He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised.” It’s a wonderful picture of what rest can look like when we allow God to lead us. I don’t know about you …but the thought of lying down in fields of green grass near pools of fresh water sounds idyllic; I can almost hear the sound of the water.
And thirdly Psalm 46 verse 10 says; “Be still and know that I am God.” I have these words stencilled on my study wall. These words are often used to help us to find a place of quietness within ourselves… to find rest that the mind, body and spirit need. It’s God’s encouragement to pause, to take a holiday from our busyness or even to find a Holy Moment. The words ‘Be still’ translated from the Hebrew literally mean ‘Let go’. It’s about handing God the reins of our lives, even just for a while and allowing Him to take the strain for us as we let go of our burdens…whatever they might be.
So, the invitation to each one of us is to ‘Come’… to allow Him to ‘lead us in to quiet spaces’ and then to ‘let go’… and as we do so we will find ourselves refreshed, restored and renewed…as if from a holiday. Whatever you do this August I hope that it’s a really blessed time and that you find some space and time to rest and to be… and that perhaps you might even discover something of those “fields of green grass and …quiet pools of fresh water” and may even discover God is there with you as you ‘let go’.