Find a quiet place, put your earphones in, and pull out a pen and paper. Ensure you won’t be interrupted or distracted for the next few moments. 

Take a few deep breaths before beginning, and allow your body to be at ease. Recognize that the Lord is with you. Give thanks, that he is near.

In the last few months as a global community, we have largely agreed to cease many activities that we used to do with little thought, out of necessity or normality. Back then, one of the more acceptable responses to the question, “How are you?” was simply “Busy”. After a few months of corporate quarantine, one of the more commonly shared insights gained is the goodness that can be found in slowness, simplicity, and silence. Since the beginning of time, God has invited all of his creation to experience his rest. His invitation is often referred to as Sabbath. To sabbath is an invitation from God to not simply cease activity, but to cease toil. An invitation to be free from laborious necessities and to be free to pursue that which brings rest. An invitation to be still and know that he is God, and we are not.

Be still for a moment and listen to this song from Steven Curtis Chapman:

Read the following passage slowly. Let the words wash over you as you lean in to hear Jesus speak. If appropriate, read it out loud, or have someone read it to you. 

Matthew 11:25-30

Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Sit with the passage for a moment before moving on. Perhaps read it through a second or third time. Allow the Holy Spirit to draw your attention to words or phrases. 

Here are a few reflection questions to ask yourself slowly. Don’t rush to the next question before truly pondering the first. Take the time to think on each question and perhaps even slow down enough to write the answers in a journal.

  1. Where in your life do you feel weary? Heavy laden? What feels toilsome to you right now? Can you discern why it is so heavy?
    1. Will you bring those things to Jesus now and share them with him?
    2. Do you believe that Jesus is trustworthy when he says his burden is light? Why or why not? 
  2. When was the last time you experienced the lightness of Jesus? How did you experience him? Why was that experience so refreshing?
  3. Can you identify what activities or rhythms in your life help your body, mind and soul feel rested? (These could be different activities that rest different parts of your being, even though we are integrated.)
  4. Is there anything in your life that promises rest but often leaves you feeling weary? 
  5. Jesus invites us to learn rhythms of rest and gentleness from him. Is there an activity or discipline you sense he is asking you to put in your calendar in order to learn from him? Is there something he is asking you to stop doing? Is there a day of the week you could set aside for sabbath rest?

Read the passage through one more time.  

Pay attention to how it lands on you this time. Has something changed? Was something reinforced?

Listen to the song again, take his yoke upon you, and be at peace.

Written by the Spiritual Care and Development Team. 

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