April 2016 Newsletter
April 1, 2016, 9:00 AM

Grace and peace to y’all and Blessed Easter! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia! It is April, can y’all believe it? The warm weather is quickly approaching, there is a nice breeze around us, and we all impatiently wait for the brief rains because there is a ‘lovely’ shade of yellowish green blanketing everything. I almost forgot about the pollen in the South, but I’d still take it 100 times over the potential of snow.

So, we’ve all triumphantly burst into the Easter season. It has been a long Lent and Holy Week. Incredibly fulfilling and spiritually lifting (as Lent and Holy Week always are), but it’s still a long season. We’ve all begun our shouts of Alleluia! We’ve sung our praises to the new thing that God has done in Christ our Lord. We’ve reflected on what the empty tomb means for us today.

We’ve done a lot, and there will obviously be more to do as we live into this new life that God has given to us – a life that proclaims the blessed emptiness – the empty tomb – because Jesus is risen!

With all those preparations, with all those wonderful moments, with all that excitement we can become pretty tired – some exhausted because of the work we have done together and the glorious work that is still to come. Because of the world and attitude we live into there is the thought that within our tiredness that we just fill the cup with a stronger, richer coffee; suck it up; and keep on truck’n.

The attitude of the world is that you just work, work, work. No matter what. You can’t stop because if you take a break something or someone will pass you by. You have to keep working in order to stay ahead.

Yet, as we do that we continue to fall into the sense that what we cannot do enough so we must do more. In our quest to always be ahead and not to ‘let anything in our work fall behind’ we end up leaving behind family, friends, our lives. As we dive into the culture of the world to always stay ahead and busy, we end up pushing away those who love and care for us. We end up pushing away any sense of rest in our lives.

What I’m writing for us – all of us – this month is that we continue to follow in the lead of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we strive to live into the life that he has called us to – caring for others, inviting others into our lives, getting to know all who are around us. There is another aspect of Jesus’ ministry that we usually fail to live into – the ministry of rest for ourselves.

Many times throughout Jesus’ ministry and recorded in our scriptures – Jesus went away to a secluded place. To pray. To rest. To be with himself. To get away – for a bit – from the many who gathered around him. We read of Jesus pursuing a time of rest in Mark (1:35), Matthew (14:13), and Luke (4:42). Each time of rest is preceded by a lot of activity done by Jesus or knowing that something big was about to happen.

So, what does this say to us?

It is OK to rest. In fact, it’s probably pretty needed. The work can wait. You’ll be thankful for it.

Of course, rest from our work requires an actual time away. That means turning off our phones, closing our laptops, and getting away. As we enter into those moments of rest, we open our minds, our hearts, and our lives to our God, to our family, to our friends, to those activities and hobbies that we find great joy in.

We step away – only for a brief time – so that we can be reinvigorated, recharged, and rested to continue into the work that (hopefully) fills us in so many ways.

Resting is not a sign of weakness. Taking a vacation is not bad – no matter what others in prominent positions might say. Stepping away from the work we are invested in is following in the path and ministry modeled by our Lord.

We step away. We rest. We come back to the work of our vocations.

It’s good. It’s fun. It’s OK. Amen!

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