Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Rest without Laziness

The sign read: “Summer is where laziness finds respectability”

I think this sign is true.  It is also sad.  Is this the reason we look forward to summer?  So we can be lazy?  Are we glad we can finally be lazy?  Do we long for it?  And even “respect” it?  This is sad.

Our problem is that we have lost the distinction between rest and laziness.  Rest is good.  God gives us rest.  In fact, you may recall, He commanded it.  He told us to rest because He made us to rest.  We need it.  And we need it IN HIM. 

Laziness is not rest.  It is sin.  It is not leaning against God as your rock, or allowing Him to be your protector and provider.  Not at all.  It is the opposite.  It is the throwing away of the good things God has given you for the false, temporary promise that if you remove yourself from everyone and everything else – then you will be able to recharge, or find peace, or whatever other nonsense laziness promises.  It is a waste. 

Laziness does not rest in God.  It rests in self.  A self which thinks it knows what it needs - yet is wrong.  It betrays God-given rest, and so receives none of its benefits.  It is the unmotivated stoner sitting on the couch.  It is the sloppy drunk in the middle of the day.  It is the one who leaves things dirty.  The one who throws garbage on the street.  The one who doesn’t care. 

Laziness is never respectable.  And we should never give in to it.

How then can we rest?

Rest is a gift.  God gives rest.  The first day after God made Adam, He rested.  Adam spent His first full day resting with God.  God did not expect him to work.  He made Adam to rest with Him. 

This is an incredible reality.  Adam worked from his rest.  He did not work in order to rest later.  He rested first – so He could work.  We have lost this understanding, and we need to get it back.  God gives us rest, so that we are able to work – and if we are not rested – we should not work, but should rest IN HIM so that we can again work as He intends.

This is the whole model of the creation, the resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit!  All of these things God did on the FIRST day.  And the Church has always gathered in the first day because of it.  Christians gather on Sunday (the first day of the week) to rest in God.  To hear His promises.  To receive His gifts of Word and Sacrament.  To eat and drink and rest and stop. 

The Divine Service is where Christ tells you He has taken all of your burdens.  Where your “heavy ladenness” is replaced by His easy and light load.  Where the grimness of your future is overlaid with the brightness of your future in Christ.  God has made Himself your rest in Jesus.  So run to Him.  Throw yourself before Him.  Cast your cares and burdens on Him, for He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  He is the One who carries our sorrows, and restores us to meaningful vocations as son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, father, friend, neighbour and worker. 

So during summer, and all the time, do not give in to sin, and get lazy in going to church – but run to your true rest.  Hear His promises.  Breathe in His Word.  Collapse on His unchanging grace – that you might be refreshed and recharged for the walk He has prepared for you.  He will always give this to you.  Your Maker knows you, and He is with you.  In His Name, Amen.