The word rest often conjures up the idea of taking a nap, “chilling out,” relaxing, or being lazy. So often in our results driven, 24/7, on the go world, the concept of rest seems to be an option or a luxury.
Recently the Episcopal Church launched a podcast which explores the Way of Love – a set of practices which are designed to help Christians grow and share the love of Jesus. This past week’s podcast focused on the practice of rest. In the podcast, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry explained that rest isn’t necessarily a Sunday afternoon nap or a lazy day in front of the television. Rather rest is a time for renewal, reflection, and just “being” which is necessary for both our bodies and spirits. And though we think of rest as being “easy” certain practices and routines need to be in place for us to get to the place where rest is possible.
I decided today to make a deliberate effort to employ some practices to allow time for rest. I went to our local coffee shop for a latte, and then drove down to Beaverfork Lake and spent some time journaling and reflecting. Journaling is something I do daily but sometimes it helps to be in view of nature, even it it is within the confines of my air conditioned vehicle!
I drove on to Conway for the 11:00 service at St. Peter’s. I love services there and have been attending off and on for two years now but sometime my laziness gets the best of me on a Sunday morning. One thing that I enjoy about these traditional services is that they are calming and peaceful to my spirit. And in fact there is more rest to be found here than lounging in bed all morning. Adding to the atmosphere was the fact that today was Tranquility Sunday. There was no singing, no processionals, just music for reflection.
After church, I did have to run by the store to get a few things and then had some ironing to do when I got home (for those of you unfamiliar it is a process by which a hot weighted object smooths the wrinkles out of clothing!) But after that, I allowed myself downtime, lazing around with the doggos (and one cat) and reading one of my 50 cent yard sale finds from yesterday – a book about Puritan history by Sarah Vowell – which I would highly recommend.
Overall, I can say that today was a very restful and restorative day. Being deliberate about the practices which can lead to a state of rest makes it much more meaningful than simply hoping that one gets a chance to recharge. By making time for rest, we are making time to realize our priorities and our purpose.
Rest leads to renewal of spirit, soul, and strength.Lailah Gifty Alkitah
https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/documents/way_of_love_introduction.pdf – a link to the brochure describing the Way of Love
https://wayoflove.episcopalchurch.org/ – link to Way of love podcast