Don’t you love this icon of Jesus resting in the midst of the storm? I think Julia Stankova is my new favorite iconographer! I love all her work. Take 5 minutes and browse her site. It’s so lovely - you’ll find yourself smiling and delighting and, indeed, worshipping, with every page. Amy used one of her icons last week for the offertory song. Just beautiful - thank you, Jamie!
Last Sunday I spoke about why and how and what Sabbath rest can look like. I concluded my thoughts with the words of the great J.R.R. Tolkien who can sum up a sense of Sabbath far better than I can - and in under 100 words. (The hobbits are recovering from their journey so far, before the next push onwards.)
“For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, p291 The Fellowship of the Ring
This is such a lovely hint of what good Sabbath rest can feel like. As I've considered Sabbath rest, I have also found Mark Buchanan’s excellent quote on rest to be helpful:
Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life.
(Buchanan, Mark. The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring the Sabbath. Nashville, Tenn: W Pub. Group, 2006.)
So here we are on Tuesday - what do you think? Are you satisfied with your habits of Sabbath? Are you trying to make a change to your weekly habits? Remember - we are in a series on power. Making sabbath rest a priority is not going to be easy, there is a power struggle - but God will help you! And we can help each other keep accountable too. Why not email someone (could be me or any of the staff or your small group leader or …) and tell them the changes you are trying to make. Ask for accountability. Ask for help. And (of course!) pray! Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you... It will be worth it!
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13–14)
One of the benefits of getting our balance of rest/work into a healthy space is the respite our minds get. I mentioned Global Mental Health day on Sunday - and Jenny led us in prayer for mental health as well in our prayers of the people. However, I want to extend that invitation into this week. Would it be helpful to pray with someone? We do have trained prayer teams - and also very good connections with Kathleen Christopher and her team at the Christian Healing Institute. If you are having a hard time at the moment, please let me know so I can walk alongside you and connect you to resources.
And now - what else is happening?
The camping trip was a great success … 23 of us went and we pitched our tents over the 2 spacious group campsites which felt very COVID -safe! It was delightful to hike and eat s’mores and sit by a roaring fire… I’m already planning on booking next year’s Incarnation camping trip. You should try and join us! You don’t need to be a regular camper - there are plenty of people around with equipment to spare! Something to look forward to in 2021?
Baptism: have you somehow never been baptised? Want to take this important step of faith? Let me know!
Confirmation: Baptised as a baby but never made an adult, public affirmation of faith? When the Bishop visits in early December he would be delighted to confirm anyone who is ready for confirmation. This might well be a great moment to do so! Curious? Email me and let’s talk about whether confirmation is something that would be appropriate for you in your faith journey this year! Let me know!
Have you visited a garden church yet? Or been back to the chapel since COVID began? Maybe this would be a good week to do one of those! Sign up here.
Got any news to share? Why not send me an email!
Grateful for you all and our community!
Books: This week as I prepare for this coming Sunday (when we will be thinking about vulnerability) I am reading Crouch, Andy. Strong and Weak - Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing. 2016. SO GOOD.