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Sunday grace

God planned rest for the weary soul, the one whose energy is spent, whose mind is full to the brim with responsibilities, cares and burdens, and a to-do list that runneth over.

He gives us Sabbath.

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For the Jewish people, preparations are made the day before; work will be laid aside. The candles will be lit at sundown and Sabbath declared as the prayer is recited:

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot [commands of God], commanding us to kindle the light of Shabbat.

Sometimes the running to and fro, the busy schedules, the work that simply never gets finished become more than we can bear.

Sometimes the cares of life, the search for happiness, the seeking after something else, something more, pulls our minds into the darkness, and the road ahead looks fearful.

Sometimes the effort to be perfect or, at the very least acceptable, and the striving to be all things to all people weighs us down.

We realize we cannot finish the tasks. We are depleted.

We forget Adonai our God is Sovereign Lord of the universe. And Sovereign Lord over us.

And so Sabbath comes to offer rest.

This day, take off the backpack of overload. Rest in the completed grace of Jesus’s full salvation. Trust the Father with the ones you love. Believe He has a plan and is working all things for your good and His glory.

He is the Shepherd and we shall not want. He is our Peace and our Righteousness and offers Himself to us. He is the God who sees us right where we are. He is the One who loves us with a tender compassion and mercies inexhaustible.

Rest today, dear one. Rest in Him.

 Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens. –Matthew 11:28-30, Living New Testament

Sunday grace.

 

Sunday grace

The roller coaster ride of activity is exciting, the adrenaline pumping hard, heart rate accelerating, and we fly. Keep going. Stay on the coaster for another round.

But sometimes we need to get off, sit on the bench and eat ice cream.

God gave the Sabbath as a gift to man.

Rest is good. It is necessary. Sleep is restorative. Our bodies, our health depend on the stops we take.

Let your mind rest. Jesus completed all the work necessary for your salvation. He said, “It is finished.”

Let your soul rest. You are greatly loved and accepted through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Let your body rest. We are three in one, and what happens in our flesh affects the whole of us.

Honor the Sabbath somehow today, this week, and acknowledge the gift of God. He is the one who never slumbers or sleeps. He is the one who carries the weight of the world. He is the one who plans and brings those things into  existence.

Exodus 33:14 “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

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Recovering

Since my little hand surgery, I’ve been practicing recovery.

The shoe has been on the other foot for one who has been caregiver more than care receiver. I’ve experienced gifts of grace and kindness from hither and yon.

It’s been a long time since I was on this side of the sick-bed. I’ve learned some valuable lessons about pre-surgery and after.

My preparations were beneficial. I got a haircut, put food in the freezer, had a full refrigerator and a relatively clean house. The haircut was especially helpful because it is a challenge to fix my hair with one hand.

I had to relax and let things go. The weeds in the garden are flourishing along with the flowers. Let them fight it out. I just can’t garden now. The yard is not so pretty this year. I will work the soil again and reclaim it.

Food was always a welcome kindness. While being one-handed, having a meal that was already prepared was a relief for the chief-cook-and-bottle-washer. Sweet William was very glad too.

A card and a call are simple gestures but they meant a lot.

I said “yes” when someone offered help. One friend said she was coming on a Wednesday and would do whatever I needed. What a blessing that was.

While I wished to be able to do things on my own, I could not always. Those who gave themselves revived my soul and ministered in a way I cannot quite explain. It was like having sweet incense poured on my head.

Sometimes I had to ask for help. It is humbling, yes. But I found people were more than willing to lend a hand.

I realized jewelry was not necessary. It was difficult to put on and I was comfortable without the added embellishment.

My elastic-waist pants were my friends, so much easier to maneuver as I tried to be as independent as possible.

I gave into my inner creative self, sitting at the table for a couple of hours working with paper, markers, buttons, and a frame. The finished piece continues to speak the message to me, “Quiet your heart.”

I rested a lot during this month, and I almost began to feel lazy. No, I did begin to feel lazy. I’ve been a mover and a shaker for so many years. During recovery I allowed myself to rest, read, sit quietly, watch the birds, take leisurely walks. I’ve not started or completed any major projects or unnecessary tasks. It has been good. And the world kept right on turning without all my hurry and flurry.

I became more attentive while not speeding through the day. I noticed wild flowers growing and remembered sitting in the grass as a child making clover chains for my neck and wrist.

I saw bees buzzing around flowers and a wren building a nest in the bird house on our deck. I watched rabbits nibbling grass in the evening. I bent to admire the beauty in flowers and plants that thrive in spite of my neglect.

I heard the wind in the leaves of the great oaks and enjoyed their shade. I stopped underneath during the rain and was sheltered.

I stayed connected with people but I fought the impulse of too much social media. When there is nothing on the list for the day, the temptation to waste it online is real.

It’s been relatively calm at the Wright House for a month now. I feel strength coming to my hand and arm and the urge to get on with it, to pick up the pace a little and get back into the game.

This time of quiet reflection and rest has been a gift in lovely ways. It’s been a vacation at home, an extended Sabbath rest for me. I was like a boat on the river, turning loose of oars and rudder, floating where the little craft would take me. Where the Spirit led.

It’s been a beautiful excursion.

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Stillness

Lord, teach me that stillness is more than just a place where no troubles exist.

Help me learn that stillness is possible even in the worst of scenarios, even in the horror of persecution or death.

Teach me that stillness can be in me even if it is not in others.

And in my learning stillness, let me know You.

Be Still, My Soul”
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.