Remember in Sunday school we learned about the days of creation? God created the heavens and the earth, the sky and sea, land, animals, birds, fish, and humankind first. Then, the Bible reminds us that God took a break. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested” (Exodus 20:11). Most of us are also familiar with the twenty-third psalm, which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams” (Psalm 23:1-2). Mark recalls a time of resting for Jesus and the apostles as well. “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone” (Mark 6:30-32). The common thread in these verses is rest.
We are now in the first full week of July. More than halfway through the year. How about this? There are only one hundred seventy-one days until Christmas! Yikes! Let’s not go there for the moment. Instead, let’s talk about summer vacation. Here in New England where we are blessed with four distinct seasons. Summer lasts only about twelve to fifteen weeks. Sometimes we get lucky, and it is longer. Other years a little shorter. These circumstances have taught us to enjoy summer whenever we can as often as we can.
Rest is important. We need to recharge our batteries. Spend time with family and friends. Relax. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship,” Psalm 19:1 reminds us. So go and enjoy God’s beautiful creation.
Whether it is camping, hiking, antiquing, sitting by the pool, visiting a Connecticut winery, swimming in a lake, or relaxing on the beach, we should spend some time with our feet up resting. Sure, summers are short here and we all try to pack a lot into a short time span, but rest and relaxation from the craziness of the world should not include a vacation from church. Worship is an opportunity to give God thanks and being thankful does not take time off. I understand if we are away. I will be going up to Maine to visit my grandson this summer. But, if we are at home on Sunday morning, should we not be in church praising the God who created all this beauty and our opportunity to enjoy it?
God created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested. Perhaps we should look at it the opposite way during summer. We rest for six days and on the seventh we go to church to give Him thanks and praise.
I pray you get to spend time with your friends and family this summer. However, that includes your church family too. See you Sunday.
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