Monday of Pentecost 2 – Prayer of the Week

Eternal God, your Son Jesus Christ is our true Sabbath rest. Help us to keep each day holy by receiving His Word of comfort that we may find our rest in Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

I remember the first months of the pandemic perhaps a little differently than other people. Not only had the world pretty much shut down, but so had my job. The university which had been my employer announced it was closing about a month prior to the pandemic outbreak. My time leading up to that had been extraordinarily busy. We were shorthanded in the department, and I was frantically trying to keep things afloat. Little did I know that that it wasn’t the theology department which needed propping up, but the whole university.

Suddenly it was all over. There was no next semester to plan, no adjunct faculty to line up, and no assessment metrics to submit to the provost’s office. It all suddenly stopped. I was blessed that St. Michael’s extended me a call, but even that was shut down. We could not worship or have any gatherings in those first months. I was, for the first time in years, not working. I really did not know what to do with myself. I of course found some things to do. I planted far too large of a garden, but at the time it seemed prudent as grocery store shelves were sometimes empty. I brought great bowls of tomatoes to church I recollect. I read some books which had been languishing on my shelf. I took on a few projects around the house. But I was forced to rest. 

Rest seems like a longed-for commodity in our busy world. Yet, I found that when given the opportunity, I struggled to do so. I find it interesting that God mandates a time of rest, not only for the people, but also for the animals and even the people who were not part of the nation of Israel. They all got a chance to rest. For the ancient Israelites it was a way to remember that they had been released from bondage in Egypt. But it also pointed ahead to another bondage breaking event when Jesus rose from the dead and lifted from our shoulders the greatest burden of all. I learned something about myself in those days of pandemic. I also learned something important about God. This time of rest forced me to depend upon Him. It also forced me to think about how much my own estimation of my life hinged on what I do and how little of that estimation considered how much God does. I am blessed today by that growth, as painful as it was.

The readings for the rest of this week, will focus our attention on rest and what God does for us. Enjoy.

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