First Lutheran Church Plainville, Kansas
Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
The saying goes, at least in these parts; don’t schedule anything during May, because everyone is too busy with graduations and weddings and Memorial Day and the start of summer and a million other things all going on at the same time.
I suppose that is true, except for the fact that no matter what time of year it is, people always seem to be busy, or at least too busy for the things they don’t want to do.
Why do we choose to cram our schedules to the breaking point with things to do? Why must every weekend have ten different things happening from morning to night? Why must every night of the week have a meeting? Why do we inflict such hardships upon ourselves?
Is it the expectations of others? Is it the promise of scholarships and awards and other honors? Is it the fear of what would happen if we just stayed home one weekend? It is the realization that we are just not happy with our lives, so we clutter them up in the hope that others, or more likely we, won’t notice?
We often laugh when we discuss Old Testament Sabbath Day regulations; the idea that you can only walk so many steps, or that you have to restrict your activities to certain things, is just a completely foreign concept in our lives where every moment must be filled with something.
And yet, think of the benefits. What would you do if one weekend a month, you scheduled no out of town activities? What if you were told that one weekend a month, you could go no farther from your house than your own 2 feet could carry you?
I suppose the first time you would feel rather awkward; the second time you might go stir crazy; but from there on out, you would probably start to enjoy it, and enjoy it so much in fact, that you would start to clear out other weekends so that you could do the same.
Today, the Third Commandment, Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy, refers for us, those freed from the demands of the Law by Christ’s death and resurrection, to the regular praise and worship of God, to gladly hear His Word and to hold it sacred.
But that does not negate the original intent of the Commandment. The body, your body, needs rest, it needs to relax, it needs to refresh and recharge itself. The heart needs to be refreshed by the Word and the Sacraments; and the whole body needs to be refreshed from the busy life that we find ourselves in.
Consider that the curse given to Adam, and to each of us, is that work would be hard, it would no longer be easy. And God, in His wisdom, saw that work would be hard, so He set aside a day of rest for His people, rest in His Word and rest for the body.
As you celebrate with friends and family this month, particularly at graduations and at weddings, take a moment to remind both the graduate and the newlyweds about the gift of rest. Rest for the soul in the house of the Lord, and also rest for the body in the house of the family.
What benefit will you reap? Actually both places of rest will yield the same reward: the heart and the body will be ready to go forth and love and serve in whatever vocation you find yourself in with a new vitality and energy that you never knew you had, because that is what rest does: it gives you energy to do what the Lord has called upon you to do, whether it be witnessing to neighbors or serving your neighbor.
And then follow your own advice, and rest: in the pew as you hear the Word and receive the sacraments, and later in the recliner.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt