Rest = Sabbath Re-creation

Lily Cousins by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. My photography hobby helps me to slow down and appreciate life. What hobbies or practices help you to Sabbath?

Matthew 11:28-29 The Message
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

The practice of Sabbath is an essential spiritual discipline due to its origin as a command (God requires us to observe sabbath) and to its therapeutic value (we cannot continue to work or serve without rest). At its best, the sabbath is an opportunity for prayer and play, self-denial and celebration. The practice of sabbath is also an act of trust and witness: God is able to act in the world apart from human effort or achievement. In this sense the sabbath can become a sign of God’s grace. … In a culture that affirms activity and busyness, the gift of sabbath is both a challenge to our lifestyles and a means of God’s saving grace in our lives.
– Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Alive Now, July/August 2012

The sacrament of Sabbath—keeping a chosen time sacred (though all time is holy; there is no distinction or division between profane and sacred!)—was offered by the Jewish people as a gift for all of humanity. And in our busy, technology-driven culture, it is especially important that we intentionally seek rest and re-creation. It might be saying that at least one-seventh of life must be about non-performance and non-egocentric pursuit, or we forget our life’s purpose. – Richard Rohr

Grant me grace this day
to rest and remember
that there is nothing I have to do,
nothing I have to buy or sell,
nothing I have to produce or consume
in order to become who I already am:
your beloved creation.
May your overworked creation
and those who cannot rest today
come to know the liberation of your sabbath.
– Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation

Perhaps you need to consider a retreat because you were made for both engagement and withdrawal–engagement with the world and life and withdrawal to be renewed and re-created. In the Creation story, this profound truth is modeled in the action of God who labored for six days and rested on the seventh. What kind of Superman or Wonder Woman would it take to say, “God may need withdrawal and rest, but I don’t!”
– Ben Campbell Johnson and Paul H. Lang, Time Away: A Guide for Personal Retreat

Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual … And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform. -Thomas Merton

Mark 6:31 NRSV
Jesus 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.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
– Mohandas K. Gandhi 

Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.
-Ashleigh Brilliant

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes. – Etty Hillesum

I do not know what restores you, where you take your rest, how you find the sustenance that enables you to meet those who wait for you with their insistent hungers. But whatever it is, whatever soothes you and brings you solace, may you find it in the rhythm of this day, as close as the beating of your heart, as quiet as the space between the beats. – Jan Richardson, Come Away and Rest

Prayer for Rest
Cleansing breaths are incorporated into this prayer as a means to help us slow down and clear away the distractions that keep us from deep communion with God.

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

Lord of the Sabbath
Prince of Peace
You invite me to come away with you and rest a while

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

My world is so fast
So noisy
So needy
So full
Help me rest

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

Reveal the fears that drive me
Free me from false pressures and priorities
Renew a right spirit within me

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

Cover me with your healing wings
Surround me with your refuge and grace
Fill me with your peace and hope and home
Till my being finds complete rest in you

Breathe in…. Breathe out…
Rest in God’s presence…

For another breath prayer/poem entitled Rest a While by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, click here

Prayer for Rest © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Leave a comment for posting and publication considerations.

For a reflection and worship resource entitled Claiming Sabbath and the Bread of Life, click here


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