By the seventh day God had finished the work God had been doing; so on the seventh day God rested from all God’s work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creating that God had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)
The text doesn’t tell us whether on that first Sabbath day God stepped back and admired the work that God had done, but I imagine that was the case. I realize that may be a very human thing to do, though some of us avoid or delay doing that because there is something else that we think needs to be done right away. Can you imagine being there with God as God admired the work that had been done in six short days? It was time to rest from labor, enjoy Creation, and revel in the wonder of it all.
The text does tell us that God rested from all of God’s work, blessed the seventh day and made it holy. It seems to me that the work of creating, which God had called good, even very good at the end of the sixth day, was incomplete until such time as God rested. In this resting, the work of creation was infused with something that until this point it had not been, namely, the quality of being holy. Holy has its roots in middle English, from a word meaning whole. Work and rest are two parts of our lives that together bring wholeness. Have you ever felt that you were lacking wholeness? Maybe it was/is because you have neglected some parts of you that belong to the whole.
As this summer unfolds at our camps with lots of activity and comings and goings, I am hopeful that there will be times that staff and campers will rest and see that their activity is only complete when they have taken the rest and observed the holy in it, and that along with God, their rest blesses and makes holy the work that they have been about.
I am grateful for this reminder from scripture and our curriculum that rest is important. Taking the time for rest and acknowledging the holy brings together all of the pieces of the puzzle. May you enjoy the satisfaction of completing the puzzle that is your life, bringing wholeness and holiness to those around you.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Take a rest from the summer heat by gazing at this aerial view of Suttle Lake in the winter. Step back and see that it is good!
One of the basic priorities of camp and retreat ministry is to keep everyone safe, so of course it seems appropriate for leaders to remind kids to attend to safety. But what are the most effective strategies to communicate this? Learn alternatives to the admonition to "be careful" that can better help kids generate risk awareness and engage in safe behaviors. Read the article, which was highlighted in a recent S'more Mail newsletter. Todd adds that “…this applies to our conversations as adults, as well.”
Hummingbirds are fascinating but can be exhausting to watch. They beat their wings about 50-75 times per SECOND! That's a lot of wing flapping. But the hummer in this photo is still, resting on its nest in order to nurture the eggs. These two aspects of hummingbirds seem to be equally important: beating wings like crazy, and sitting perfectly still on the nest. Nature has much to teach us about wholeness and balance--and camp & retreat ministries offers a fabulous opportunity to learn, to go crazy with activity, and to rest. Won't you support us in this essential work? Click the green button to donate (but don't worry, you don't have to click it 50 times per second!).
*PHOTO: Hummingbird on its nest at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).