June 23, 2017


Rest is fleeting. Rest is fleeting not like a vapor or a memory, rest is fleeting like the next rung on the monkey bars—you know it, you can see it, but it seems never to be in grasp.

Rest is fleeting as we sit beside our over-weary child, up past bed time, while we respond to a facebook post, while Jimmy Fallon laughs at his own joke and we feign to find the rest that our bodies have been asking for all day. Not just asking for—banging on the door for. Rest has been begging for you to find it.

This is a counterproductive act, our mind banging on our own mind's door, searching for something that you know exists, but can't reach—like the next rung. Rest is something we all need, we all know we need but none of us gets enough of.

Maybe this is why God showed us how to do it first. Creating a separation in day and night then sat back in the lazyboy, cranked the handle and said—'ahhhh, this is good.' Created everything, saving us for last making us think that perhaps we are his crowning achievement. And then he rested. Perhaps God's greatest creation was not us, but was rest—the culmination of all creation sat in silence as God took a break. Yet, over and over he had to remind us to do it. Don't worry about that load of laundry or flipping the dishwasher. Don’t worry about the next rehearsal or worship service. Don't worry about getting an A on this paper or this week's sermon. Don't worry about the banging on the front door or the music your neighbour is playing too loudly and too late—'rest, would ya?'

We avoid the next rung, staring at it, sweat on our brow we stay dangling there both arms extended hanging on the bar on which we find ourselves always looking ahead, whitened fingers slipping, gathering the strength to create momentum to go forward for the next rung. ‘Rest, wouldya?'

It seems fleeting because we allow it to be. We call it by other more official names to try to block the time out in our Google calendars, but it’s as tough to find as a quiet place or a place where no street lamps poke through the blinds. We call it sabbath. We call it vacation—for those who are lucky enough to get the time off work and away from leading worship. We call rest a reading break, coffee break, smoke break—break is right. Just slam on the brakes and see if you see it. We should put rest on Wanted Posters. I would hang one. Anyone seen ‘Rest' these days? Anyone?

Don't answer yet, or, if you do, at least whisper. My kid just fell asleep in my lap and the coffee I had with dinner is still percolating in my mind. It will be tomorrow soon. I know because God made it that way. I know I should rest, but how? There is so much to do. So much to read or write. So much to say—so, just whisper. If only we could eek out the words 'it is good' and catch a few zzz's in the easy chair in full recline. The next rung of the monkey bars will not always be reached by your span, but perhaps only by his fatherly hand. We were made for it and rest was made for us to enjoy as part of God's great creation.

Rest was made for man, not man for rest. God's greatest creation is rest. So go. Go to him. All who are weary. All who are heavy laden and He. Will. Give. You. _______ Amen.

Want to think more deeply about sabbath rest?

Consider reading Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Bruggemann. Or check out this article from Reformed Worship 75 Sabbath Keeping for Lead Worshipers by Gregg DeMey

Josh Friend and his wife, Tiffany, have four children. He is the lead pastor of Evergreen Community CRC in Fort McMurray, Alberta. He has been involved in worship leading, seminars, musical production and recording, and various media including The Bridge, 91.1 FM, a local radio station in Fort McMurray.