Sitting quietly around a large circular banquet room table at the Sheraton Conference Rooms in New Orleans, Louisiana, for worship recently at a clergy youth workers conference, my thoughts were still clamoring loudly from the morning’s activities. The last-minute conversations that I had before walking in the banquet hall still echoed in my mind. Then with a slow decrescendo, my thoughts softened in preparation for worship.
Before I knew it, worship began with the sudden crescendo of song. The large gathered community who sat around nearly 100 large circular banquet room tables in unison raised their voices in praise of God. With every stanza the community was drawn deeper and deeper into worship together.
The next movement with everyone around me and everything within me having fallen completely silent amazed me. In the complete silence, all of us heard, “God is a God of Holy Rest. You are called to this rest.” Wow!
“God is a God of Holy Rest. You are called to this rest.” This is most certainly true. All of us are called to this rest with God and with God’s people.
We are called to this Holy Rest. The frantic, loud clanging, repetitious and rudimentary patterns of each day can often cover up the stillness underneath that each of us longs for daily. It may be the many appointments or doctor’s visits that we have throughout the day. It possibly could be the numerous online or in-person meetings that fill one’s daily work responsibilities. Or it could be the call to school activities, sports events and even more. Nevertheless, missing the nuanced intricacies and beauty that each of us longs for daily should never be drowned out entirely by the programmed busyness of our everyday life. For God is a God of Holy Rest and is active in our Holy Rest with God.
In Holy Rest, God restores and renews us for the Holy Work that we, by the grace of God, are called to do in his name. With this season of Lent nearing, people of faith are invited back to this Holy Rest to rest in God’s presence and return to the God’s community to rest in God’s presence together. Acknowledging that which gets in the way of our Holy Rest and working at no longer repeating these patterns allows our God who is active in Holy Rest to reinvigorate our whole lives in new ways and with a new song.
In these weeks leading up to Easter, take five minutes before the busyness of your day begins or in the busyness of your day to pause and rest. Remember “God is God of Holy Rest. You are called to this rest.” Please feel free to take it because God gives it to you.
Craig Richter is co-pastor of All Shepherds Lutheran Church in Lewis Center and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Delaware.