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On Rest And Thankfulness

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Jul, 2021 02:07 AM

As we seek to learn lessons from lockdown, to live more sustainably, and to live as God's people, many parishes are reminding themselves of ancient truths and rhythms.

On Rest And Thankfulness

Original photo Pxfuel

In the Broad Town Lockdown Newsletter, the Revd Rachma Abbott shares her thoughts on the importance of Sabbath Rest. She writes:

I write this on the eve of the day I think of as my Sabbath Rest day, which isn’t a Sunday. I look forward to that day as a time to change the rhythm from the working week; a day that offers opportunities for a different pattern of activity and sometimes a chance to enjoy doing ‘nothing’. Calling it ‘nothing’ sounds negative and sometimes leads to thinking that I ought instead to be doing ‘something’.

In truth, I think this is much more like the pause at the end of a slow, steady breath which is a place of profound and efficient stillness before breathing returns to the next steady pulse in or out. It has the same sense of joyful completion that I get at the end of a perfectly executed swimming stroke or when the last item of cutlery is put away after the washing up. It is the moment of ‘nothing’ in which I notice that what is given is enough.

The pause of the one day in seven gives beauty to the week past and renewal for the week forward. Constancy in the pattern of days, weeks, months and years is a source of peace and content, a firm foundation for the moments of extreme effort or times that require sustained resilience.

Fairly recently I was asked if I had enjoyed a year with less work with the churches closed. I thought how much difference there is between a time of chosen, set aside rest – whether sabbath or holy day/ holiday and the time of enforced restraint and limitation that I have experienced over the last fifteen months or so, some of which no doubt will continue into the weeks and months ahead.

I have been surprised at the depth of weariness this time of enforced inaction brings in its wake. The psalmist’s cry: 'How long O Lord, how long' has often risen in my prayers. By contrast times of chosen sabbath or holy holiday open space in which gratitude returns and resources me for the fret and frenzy of daily life.

May you too find ways to balance enforced inaction and chosen rest so that thankfulness is renewed.

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