Thursday, May 30, 2013

Four Beats of Rest

Though summer doesn't officially start until later this month, Memorial Day feels to most of us like the beginning of summer. Kids will be out of school, friends will gather around gas grills and at the beach, and family reunions will be taking place around the country. My hope for you is that this summer will provide the opportunity for rest and fun.

You know God has hard-wired rest and play into our very being. He created us to joyfully experience the world he created. Like a Father that enjoys watching his children play, God has fun when we have fun. I mean after all, he gives us taste buds! The very fact that we can be entertained by food is remarkable and speaks to the joyous nature of our Lord! Additionally, God gives us the ability to marvel at colors, hear various pitches and harmonies, appreciate beauty, savor aromas, and through touching discern textures. And he allows us to laugh! What purpose does laughter provide other than as an outlet to express joy. What a great God we serve!

The rhythm of life God created began on the downbeat of play, fun and recreation. Play is Godly and good. God created it and created us to experience it. But lest you think this rest and play thing is a fluke. Check this out. There are four examples of God beating the drum of rest and recreation (play).

1. God Took a Personal Day
Genesis 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
The first thing God does after created everything is to take a personal day. On the seventh day, God called off. Literally from the beginning the rhythm of life began on the down beat of play, fun and recreation.

2. Let my People Go…Celebrate.
Exodus 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
After 400 years of hard labor, God says to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Not, let them go to a construction conference or a trade show to hone their craftsmanship. No Six Sigma training here. Instead, God says let them go play! Let them go hold a festival (party), and have fun and laugh and rejoice and rest. God wanted his people free so they could experience joy in the world he created. During slavery, the rhythm of play and rest had been stolen from them. This is not what people were created for.

3. “Fun” makes the Top 10.
Right in the heart of Exodus 20, the fourth commandment is ‘Take a Break.” Remember the Sabbath as a day of rest, worship and recreation. It’s a command to remember our Creator, who formed us with the need for recreation.

4. Party, Party, Party.
The Jewish calendar, with its 3 times per year, multi-day festivals created a rhythm of work and rest. Passover (spring), Pentecost (summer) and Tabernacles (fall) were multi-day celebrations. They were parties. God mandated parties. They were not evening events, but rather weeklong festivals of fun, shared stories, laughter, and the reconnecting with family of God. The festivals were meant to disconnect the child of God from obligations, duty and work. These festivals were never meant to be weighty religious obligations, but sources of joyful worship and play. That is why they were called festivals. Not fasts. Big parties, holy fun!

I pray you will take time this summer to disconnect and refresh. I pray for God to give you some frivolous and unproductive holy days this summer…all for the glory of God. Don’t let your rest become work. That’s a sin.

You are Loved,

Pastor Terry