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No Time to Rest?

In a quick check of email this morning, I saw that several people had forwarded today’s “Lent Day by Day” reflection to me, mentioning how appropriate it was as we enter what promises to be a gorgeous weekend.

If you didn’t receive it, or even if you did and didn’t reflect on it, here it is again:

“The Sabbath is a day of rest. What does it mean to rest? Tilopa, a 9th-century Buddhist master, wrote:

‘Do not remember the past;
Do not predict the future;
Do not think about the present;
Do not analyze;
Do not control;
Rest.’

Powerful limits.
But what do we rest from? What is work? Most of us work with our minds, so do we shut off our minds with the glowing screen of the TV? Is that “rest” -- turning everything off?

We should not forget active rest. Play. Exploration of questions and interests that are simply fun. When you were a child, what was more relaxing than play?

What if we rested from the media that surrounds us? Imagine a day with no TV, no newspapers, no magazines. Imagine shutting off the fire hose of images, ideas, and icons rushing into our brains. Imagine a day to play, to tinker, to explore, to wander. How could you not feel rested after that?

God made us playful creatures. So let’s play.”

--Brent Newhall

The message comes at a good time, because -- speaking both personally and professionally -- I feel I can’t afford any time to rest or play.

But of course the best time to rest is when you don’t have time to.

If we wait to rest until we “just get through _____________,” we’ll find it’s been months, if not years, before we’ve finally realized there is always another ____________, and we’re burned out… not so much resting as recovering from exhaustion. That kind of rest is not conducive to play; it isn’t really even rest.

More importantly, when we rest only in those times we feel like life is “under control,” we lose the whole point of Sabbath rest, which is to remind ourselves that God is in control. As the bumper sticker says, “There is only one God. Quit applying for his position.”

To rest, to play -- especially when we don’t have time for it -- is a helpful reminder that God is God, and we are not.

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