Weariness and Rest

(Adapted from the Sermon for 7-9-2023)


Years ago, there was a confirmation class that was learning about the Ten Commandments. When we got to the Commandment “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy,” I asked the class, “Who here could use an extra day off in their week?” Just about everyone raised their hand.


Resting is something we don’t always do very well.


Sabbath is more than just getting proper sleep, though that’s an important part of it. It’s also about taking a day to not work, to be and to exist in a way that is different from the other days of the week. We need that space to rest, recharge, and remember who we are. We strengthen that understanding of our identity by spending time with it—time with ourselves, with our families and communities, and with God.


When runners are training for the longer races, they have to do more than just go out and run. They also have to be intentional about recovering from the workout—resting in an active way. This sort of rest includes things like stretching, rehydrating, eating, and caring for the muscles and body being trained to run that far.


They need to rest properly and take the time to do that, so they can go out the next day and run again.


We may or may not be training for a big race or athletic event, but resting intentionally is something we all need.


There are expectations pulling at us every day for so many reasons and from so many places—requests from co-workers, employers, and customers, expectations to attend family events or accept invitations from friends, demands we put on ourselves to earn or achieve something, opportunities to work for good and change for the better, and so on.


Sometimes those requests and expectations are mutually exclusive, and someone is going to be disappointed.


What can be done?


Do we work harder, push further, on extra days? Do we do something here and something else there so that everyone is happy? Or will another thing just come up later? What do we do then?


No wonder we’re weary.


We need a day of rest—to refresh and recover. We need to take time to stretch, literally and metaphorically. We need to take time to remember our identity and tend to our weariness in an active and intentional way.


Sabbath is a time to be with ourselves, our families, our communities, and our God. It’s a time to reflect on our place in the world and learn from Jesus, who provides the true centering for ourselves and our souls that gives us what we need to be ready to take on tomorrow.


“Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30