Each of one us is unique. The way we rest is unique too. There is not a perfect format, rule list, or way to practice the rhythm of rest. If you are trying too hard to rest "the right way," then it's probably not restoring your soul, mind, and body in the way it's meant to. Sabbath is not about resting perfectly but resting in the One who is perfect.
The rhythm of generosity comes from both giving and receiving. There is no shame in being in need, no shame in receiving gifts that have been generously and lovingly given. If you, as a valued part of the body of Christ are in need, reach out. And to those of you, in the body of Christ, who have much, give generously to those in need.
This past year was especially difficult for my family. There were many months in which we didn't know if and how we were going to pay our bills, feed our family, pay for my husband's multiple back surgeries...or even pay for then shoes my son needed.
It would have been easy to think... If we don't tithe this month...than we can pay off our hospital debt instead of having to make payments for a few more months...we can ... we need...we can...
In summary, without grace we are not the church.
It is as nonsensical as a book club that doesn’t read or a band without instruments. A church community that exemplifies grace is one that prioritizes the need for confession and forgiveness, just as Jesus called His followers to display.
Loneliness is a real problem in the world, and Americans are among the most lonely people on the planet. Through technology we are “connected” more than ever before, and yet we experience less community. People seem to be craving community now more than ever before. There is a part of us that recognizes that we were created for community.
But this realization doesn't end there. This also shows how vital community itself is. If we remember back to the Last Supper, where communion was established, we don't see Jesus alone, we see men sitting together and supporting one another in a time of upheaval.
Paul was absolutely making a sacrifice, and I would consider his act of driving across the country with me pretty grand, but what made the most lasting impression on me was that his decision to help was not much of a decision at all. It wasn’t second nature to him, it was first! In this way, he demonstrated the love of Jesus.
The question has been posed to us; “What is the church to do in a time like this?” The answer in this is the same in all situations – we have to turn to Jesus and Jesus alone. The root of much of this is a loss of love that Christ demonstrated and ultimately died for – the loss of love for each other and recognizing that each human is of great worth to our Savior because His death was for all men and all people even while they were still sinners.
While having a daily time of prayer is certainly not a bad thing, it is important to remember, like in any relationship, that our line of communication with God must always be open. To restrict the time in which we speak with our King to a strict schedule is to reduce our relationship with them from a personal and intimate friendship to a robotic correspondence, dictated by an arbitrary routine.
This week, as we consider our spiritual rhythm of prayer in pursuit of greater intimacy with God, we think about the new practices we can try or the old habits that we can recall. I challenge you to read through these and consider what you would like to try, add, and improve in your prayer life. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point.
In prayer, God wants us to come before him as we are, however we are feeling. There is no need to hold back. Everything belongs: our nervousness; our aggression; the good and the bad; EVERYTHING. God can handle it! We do not need to fear being honest with God.
And it’s a painful dentist visit if you get too far behind. That’s sort of how it’s been during the years of not reading scripture daily: scum-y. And the scum builds. Self-talk is scum-y, conversations with strangers are scum-y, talking with friends and family becomes scum-y.