Pastor's Paragraph for June 30, 2019
JUNE 30, 2019
We are a people on the move. Even some of those who are retired have been heard to say, “I didn’t feel this busy when I was working full time.” Reflective of our Western cultural ethic, we tend to be very hard workers. We value hard work, as we should, but there are times when our work consumes us. We may all know people who have “burned out” and succumb to utter exhaustion due to failure to “step away” from their work.
Vacations are important, but how often do we feel worn out just getting everything ready to leave for vacation, engage in a vigorous schedule of activities while on vacation, then when we return home, we jump right back into our demanding schedules with little reprieve or rest. We may have taken some awesome pics, but are vacations really restful? I believe they can be, given they change our day to day focus and provide us a completely different context. At the same time, vacations may not really provide the down time needed to recharge.
Jesus knew how important it was to recharge, to withdraw for purposes of rest and renewal. On several occasions throughout scripture we read, “…(Jesus) withdrew to a solitary place where he prayed.” Given advances in technology and our phone appendage, (sorry, I struggle here too), it becomes more of a challenge to truly get away, unwind, or unplug.
Over Lent this past year, one of my students at Messiah College shared that he was giving up all social media for the entire Lenten season. Half-way through, he stated that he wished he would have chosen to give up food, not a specific food item, just food instead. Yikes, I would call this a rather drastic statement. He indicated that he was miserable and didn’t realize how addicted he was to all the sites. I believe he missed out on the joy of setting something aside to be more attentive to the Lord.
What do you do for rest and renewal? I believe it is a fair and open question that each of us should answer honestly. Given our answer, it will be up to us to adjust our patterned practices, if needed. No judgment here, for I, too, must answer the question.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Gallaher
Associate Teaching Minister