Pause with Pastor Joel – April 17, 2023

Last Monday I rested on the day after Easter. Megan and I took Maxine to school and then we took a walk in the woods, got some coffee together and simply enjoyed the beautiful weather.
Usually our church office is closed on the Monday after Easter and I almost always take that day off. We do this because Holy Week is so busy with a combined 4 services that we held between Thursday and Sunday.
Yet as I took my day to rest, I thought about sabbath – this is the religious word we use for that day to rest. It was first established by God as God was creating the world. Genesis tells us that God worked for 6 days and then on the 7th day, God rested.
We often think that rest is a reward for hard work. However, recently a man who calls himself an Organizational Psychologist, named Adam Grant, that I follow on social media posted about how the phrase “you deserve a break,” leads us to this kind of thinking of how rest is a reward. He goes on to say that rest isn’t a reward, it’s a human right and something that everyone deserves.
I appreciate his pointing out the error in the reward for work thinking, but I would state rest not as a right or something that people deserve, but rather as something we NEED. Perhaps then it is correct to call it a human right, as it’s something that we as humans inherently need to survive.
This is what God models for us in the creation story. It’s not that God needs rest, but God knows that we do and so God shows us that pattern or work and rest.
Having the day of rest at the end of the week still causes this same kind of “reward for work” thinking, in my mind. Even the word “weekend,” results in this same kind of thinking.
That’s why the early Christian practice of moving the sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week, is so radically important. It wasn’t just the day that Jesus was raised to new life, but I believe that just like Christ’s resurrection repaired all that is broken in the world, it repaired our sabbath. It moved it to the first day of the week and reminds us that we need rest. In fact, without rest as part of our rhythm, we can’t do the work that God has called us to do.
No, rest isn’t a reward for when the work is done, rest is a necessity to even begin the work. That’s what I reflected on as I rested after a very busy week. I pray we all can find the rest we need to then do the work we are called to do.

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