Jesus says ‘come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest’.
God is just as happy for us to enjoy being in His love as busying ourselves ‘doing’ love. The 4th century church father, Augustine, wrote about experiencing God’s embrace when he was feeling troubled and stressed. He said he was a burden to himself but God ‘caressed his head, closed his eyes and lulled him to sleep’ from which he awoke to discover himself calmed and healed.
Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to accept God’s invitation to rest in the Lord. It takes effort. But it proves to be enjoyable and worthwhile. And it allows us to let God into our lives, which is exactly where God wants to be.
Here is a suggestion if you are out and about this summer.
Find a historic church, maybe just a local parish church, that is open. Go in and sit quietly on a pew. Look around at the architecture of the church. It’s designed to open your eyes to God. For example, the windows are symbolic of God’s light, full of truth and knowledge. Some windows may portray Biblical stories, or events, in stained glass. Decorative features in a church are often meant to symbolise the richness of heaven – look closely at the floor, ceiling and doors. Elaborate choir stalls enable singers to be set apart as they send God’s praises heavenwards. The altar and communion table represent the community of God, a coming together of believers - past, present and future.
As you sit and look around, reflect on the people that have worshipped in that church over the years, maybe over centuries, keeping the faith in that place. Listen for any sounds, perhaps music, voices, footsteps. Perhaps silence. Reflect on your place in the great cycle of praise and worship that continues unabated around the world and know that you belong. And in the stillness enjoy God’s presence. Just be.
Of course, that is only a suggestion. You can rest in the Lord in all sorts of places, indoors and outdoors. The important thing is to allow ourselves time for being with God without distraction or interruption. And the long days of summer are just right when you want to just be.
Jill Nugent @ Cheshunt