Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Holy Rest

I was reading from the Bible yesterday and this passage from the Creation narrative leapt out at me.

'On the seventh day, having finished his task, God rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from his work of creation.'

I'm so glad such words were written & preserved for us - the 21st century man who is ever driven & insatiable in his quest to achieve & accumulate more. For whom anything more than a TV break or game of squash is counter-productive and a waste of time.

Rest is holy! Imagine that! It runs completely antithetical to our work culture, my type A personality trait , and even many religious organizations' modus operandi.

But why did God ever need to rest? He IS after all THE Mr. Incredible of all time. All powerful and all knowing. If there was ever one being who could do everything and respond to every need, everywhere - He could. But he doesn't.

When He declared, 'It is good!' He could've gone on to say - this is pretty good work for 6 days, I must say. Why don't we go on & make another 10 cosmos just like it and I bet we could do it in less time too! This is a wholly replicable & scalable project. And hey, hey, think about it we could get these separate universes to link up and create mutually enriching enterprises. We would have enough work for eternity!

But He didn't. He stopped. He could've gone on after that, we don't know. There may be other life-sustaining systems out there and being a 'the universe is a mighty big place, and it'd be a mighty waste of space' kinda guy, I'd like to believe that. But He totally stopped for a full day, blessed it and called THAT holy.

What a mystery!

The God who has no need to replenish takes a break.
The God who is Holy calls his off day holy.
The God who has limitless creative power decides not to do anything
for a full day.

Why? To enjoy the result of His work? He already did that. To review & plan his next project? No way. I don't think God needs a reason to rest. And perhaps we don't either.

Sure there's all kinds of benefits of rest and we all need it. Stress, burnout, adrenaline addiction, depression - these are just a few of the many consequences of a life on the fast-lane. Racing down the Grand Prix circuit of life we eventually crash and hurt ourselves and people closest to us. We violate the work-rest rhythm and body-soul-spirit harmony to our own peril.

But beyond the benefits of rest, God seems to show us He doesn't need a reason to exist. He was and He is and He will always be. He doesn't exist to work, He is separate from His work and resting from it is more than OK. God IS regardless of whether He made anything. And that single day just illustrates the completeness & perfection that is God - just Being.

That is the Sabbath rest I have inherited and am invited to enter again and again. I don't need a reason to exist. I am, and I am separate from my work and I don't exist to work. Resting from work is more than OK. I have BEING regardless of whether I've achieved anything today. And to claim a single day like that just celebrates the completeness & perfection that is me & God. Regardless of which day I pick and what I do or don't do, it is about coming home to me and God.

Just Be-ing. It is as though to say, 'I am who I am and it's good to be me.'

My ME & God time is simply sacred and I want to enjoy more of that, more and more.


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