Restful Rhythm for a Seminarian

Exodus 16:29 (English Standard Version)

See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”

Rest is a good thing and my family and I were blessed to have a period of much needed rest the week before classes began on Aug 13. What made our time the most restful was the fact that we stayed in one place for several days. The lake house that was graciously ours for a week was the perfect place to read, fish, swim and rest. Staying put for several days in the same house was so unusual for us because of our busyness this last year.

I am grateful for God’s wisdom in placing a natural rhythm of rest into his creation. Because of my restful time, the first week of classes at Southern was very productive and lacked stress. Thank you Lord for Sabbath!!

Eugene Peterson speaks of the God created rhythm that includes a day of weekly rest.

We are created to live rhythmically in the rhythms of creation. ..But we are also composed of rhythms. …The interesting thing about rhythm is that we can slow down or quicken the tempo, but we cannot eliminate the beat, the cadence…Genesis 1 is structured in time, a seven-day sequence of God’s speaking creation into being. The formative effect is rhythmic, using metrical and repeated melodic phrases to pull our distracted, anxious, and sometimes lethargic lives into the steady, sure, unhurried pace of God as he speaks his reliable and effective word across a sequence of six days. These rhythms are then resolved in an all-embracing seventh-day Sabbath, in which we become present to all of creation time, assimilated and realized. It is by means of this contemplative seventh day that we become participants in creation.

— Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology 2005, Eerdmans Publishing

The hectic pace of seminary life too often disrupts the natural rhythm of God’s intended pace of life for his children. Over the last year I have faced this disruption despite the fact that I prepared so hard in advance to not be this way. Busyness gets to all of us and for those wishing to follow God’s call to serve his church, it is all too important to regularly find a full day (or series of days) to be contemplative and still.

I was tense going in to my week of rest, tired and non-affectionate toward my family. But after two days of settling, I finally began to remember how refreshing the stillness of God really is. Staying in one place with no agenda or schedule allowed me to return once again to the loving arms of my God who loves me and wants only for me to be with Him.

Little did I realize how much I needed that time away. I hit the ground running this week with a full load of classes, work and family obligations. But I was able to do it with a humble spirit, a rested spirit. A proper sense of balance had returned, a balance intended by my Creator because he knows so well how his creation functions best.

I pray that this sense of proper balance continues this semester so that I do not again lose site of the proper goal. God intends for me to live in a natural rhythm and the most important beat within that rhythm is a pause of rest.

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