Saturday, April 1st- Rest

(I have a busy weekend ahead, so the next few devotions are being published early.)

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Mark 6:30-32

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and  taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 

 Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

It may seem strange to think of rest as our Lenten practice for today. “Practice” involves doing! But let’s consider our practice of rest as a new way of living, not just a break from doing.

In our reading from Mark, Jesus invites his disciples to “come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest for a while.” They had been busily teaching, healing, traveling, and answering the needs of many. If we read further, we learn that they would soon be busy again. Jesus understood the need for respite and rest. His invitation was to rest FROM the overwhelming crowds and challenging days.

What might you need to “come away from” for a few moments? How might you separate yourself from those needs for a while? What quiet place of solitude is beckoning you?

In the Matthew passage, there is another invitation: to rest IN Jesus. Jesus invites all of us who are “weary and carrying heavy burdens” to come to him for rest. This is more than rest from activity. It is his offer to take our emotional and mental burdens to him, and find rest for our souls. Often when our souls are burdened we want to sleep, perhaps to find a break from our worry.  But this does not give us the rest we need, and we awaken just as weary and burdened as before. What a gift Jesus is offering us- to relieve us from our burdens!

What burdens are you carrying now? How might you bring those burdens to Jesus? What might you learn from Jesus today?

In any creative work of art, the empty spaces are as significant as the artwork. A melody is enhanced by the rests between notes, the deliberate pauses of music. A poem is created with special breaks and meters for pace and emphasis. A painter or sculptor uses both medium and space to bring beauty to our eyes. God desires to make a beautiful work of art with our lives. We too, need to allow spaces. Spaces for resting from, and spaces for resting in.

Our reminder symbol for today is a musical rest. May we remember that our silent spaces of rest are as important and as needful as our works.

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Jesus, my resting place,

You invite me to rest from my busyness. Help me to bring you my agenda. Together we will find a quiet time and place for me to be alone with you.

You invite me to rest in you. Help me to bring you my cares. Together we will restore my soul with respite and renewal in you.

You invite me to be your work of art. Help me to bring you my life. Together we will create your beautiful image of me, as only you can do.

Amen.

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