Resting in the Grace

God willing, as you read this, I’ll be on a farm in North Carolina with my friend Ben. I will have worshipped with his congregation, one of our mission partners: Farm Church. I am not a farmer; hot, hard labor has no appeal. But I love the earth and being out in nature grounds me. The ducks and the dog and the children fill me with delight. Good friends and good talk renew my spirit within me.

Summer comes and with it the invitation to Sabbath.

Summer is the season of recreation.

It also invites us to experiences of re-creation.

God created the heavens and the earth, and everything on the earth,

God declared them good. And then God rested. God rested. Rest is part of the creation and re-creation cycle.

Some of us are not so good with rest. For many, rest equals sloth and leisure feels like lazy. H.L. Mencken once described Puritanism as “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” God forbid that someone be us!

In contrast, Peter Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, encourages us to honor rather than resist our “God-given limits,” to accept our human need for rest and recovery. What a relief it is when we surrender our drive for self-sufficiency and rest ourselves in God’s embrace, in the arms of the One whose creative, creating energy is sufficient to meet our every need.

This summer: Find yourself a farm. Or a piece of woods. Or walk along the greenways and the gardens. Or read a poem written by a farmer, like this one, from Wendell Berry:

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.