Tag Archives: rest

All change

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s a strange place to be: at home in the manse surrounded by the normal things of ministry, not sick, not on holiday but not working.

I’m beginning a Sabbatical, not unique among Methodist ministers but still rare enough that people get confused about it and wonder if I’ve been send to the subs’ bench or the naughty step.

Others of course smile broadly and declare: “Three months holiday, eh! It’s all right for some.”

Well, there’s some rest time, of course. There is also some work-related activity and we are encouraged to do something that stretches us spiritually. Sabbaticals are a gift from the Church to refresh and reinvigorate our ministries.

I’ll be working on my hymn-writing and we’ll make a couple of trips including one overseas visit that I’m really excited about, but mostly it’s about being quiet and trying to hear God.

That’s all change from the frenetic pressure of a diary and a helpful one too.

Lost for words

The arrogance of having a blog is thinking you should have something to say. Sometimes you don’t but wish you did.

Our political world has moved so quickly: in one day we watch a Prime Minister leave, a new one move in and a zip-wiring former Mayor of London become our new Foreign Secretary – one of the great offices of State.

Twitter and Facebook are incredulous. Do I get angry, do I find a snide comment, do I encourage Christians to pray (as I probably ought to), do I remember all the damaged lives that still need championing?

Or, more sensibly, do I let the wiser words of the Psalmist speak? After all, when I am lost for words, the Word can speak wonders and wisdom.

shhhh-1433634-639x852Psalm 62

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down –
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken.
My salvation and my honour depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
    the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
    together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
    or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
‘Power belongs to you, God,
12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love’;
and, ‘You reward everyone
    according to what they have done.’

Rob and rest

The creativity of God and the genius of Rob Lacey collided very powerfully in a nursing home today when just a few of us shared worship.

When I go into the chapel in this home, there are only a handful of us. Some don’t appear to be connected to this world until we get to the Lord’s Prayer when the volume suddenly increases. Others tell me how much they have been anticipating my visit – they are one of my churches and one which appreciates creativity even though we only have about 20 minutes before sleep and other distractions get in the way.

Today, as well as singing hymns, we listened to the Creation story from Genesis 1 as told by Rob Lacey from his live performance of the Street Bible/Word on the Street. Then, after listening to Cathy Burton’s gorgeous version of the song Indescribable, we thought for as few minutes of the importance of resting. Surely, if even God chose to take a day out, it matters. Even the residents of the nursing home, who you might think have nothing to do all day, recognised that there’s a difference between not working and actually resting; especially resting in God.

Ask yourself, when did you last have a sabbath? When did you last just stop, completely cease from activity and take time to be with God in stillness and silence?

For some of us, Sunday is the last possible day to do that. It’s just stupidly busy. But the principle of Sabbath isn’t the same as observing the Lord’s day if by that you mean Sunday and if on Sunday you are any kind of church leader. Many of us finish a Sunday more exhausted than we began it. That’s no kind of Sabbath.

When God completed the business of Creation he stood back and declared it good. Then he stopped and rested. He was confident enough in what he had done to leave it alone for a period. Why shouldn’t we be the same?