To Rest: Created in the Image of God

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

“And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from  all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the word he had done in creation.”  Genesis 2:2-3

I offer this disclaimer first. In my nearly twenty-six years of preaching, I cannot find evidence that I’ve ever strictly preached on “The Holy Trinity.”  For me, at least, such theological concepts are hard to bring to life.  So instead, it appears I have always just taken one of the assigned readings and offered what connections I could.  While  I was not surprised to discover I have never preached on “The Holy Trinity,”  I was a little surprised to see that I have no evidence of having tackled this soaring creation account in Genesis — assigned this day, no doubt, to highlight this one aspect of how God, the Creator works among us. Even so, I don’t know that I could do the whole reading justice, and so I am settling in at the end where it speaks of God resting.  Probably because it’s a word I need to hear.

Indeed, yesterday this is what I found  on the sidewalk just in front of my house. Evidently, the two little girls who live next door have been at play in these first warm days of June.  Look closely though.  I played hopscotch when I was a girl.  Only I know that none of my games included a place to ‘rest.’  (I did poke around Google Images and found that this is not as unusual as I first thought.  I had simply never seen it.)

At my workout class this week I realized there was an intentional place to ‘rest’ as well.  We were doing something new — with partners this time and a medicine ball and forward and backward lunges.  And before we passed the ball off to our partner we were to stand still for just an instant.  The point was, if I got it right, if we ‘rested’ for just that moment, we could re-balance and get our form right before we lunged again.

It would come as no surprise to those who know me that I’m not all that good at ‘rest.’  I can remember being 19 years old. At my college work study job our supervisor was trying to prepare us for ‘adult professional employment.’ So out of her limited budget she purchased for each peer counselor in the Career Development Center a calendar.  We were to use it to keep track of our appointments and meetings.  I was so proud of that book. This is weird, I know.  I’m a little ashamed to say now that I was especially proud of it as it became filled up with various commitments.  It was almost a status thing for me then.  And I’m not especially proud to say now that while my calendar may look different, in many ways it does still define me.  One of the ways I understand myself and prove my worth is by ‘being busy about important things.’  This is not good, I know.  And as you might guess, I’m not so quick to put in times of ‘rest’ along with all the rest that needs to be tended. At least not in ink.

I did some reading this week about ‘sabbath’ — about this rest you and I are told to take even as God did.  I found myself remembering whole books I’ve read on Sabbath Rest and I, in fact, have no fewer than two books on my Kindle right now which address it.  I’ve read and owned and apparently given away book after book on the subject — I must have given them away for I can’t find them anywhere on my shelves. In fact, apparently, they made deep impressions on me so much so that I felt compelled to  pass the wisdom along.  Only evidently, I passed them along and away from my active consciousness.  Oh yes, it is so that I do recall very well what was said.  Only honestly?  I have not yet fully learned to embrace the gift intended for us in those words.  The little girls who live next door are already figuring out its meaning for them. My exercise coach teaches the value and necessity of ‘rest’ as balance to hard work. My body reminds me regularly that while much work is good, rest is needed and is also good. Maybe even just as good.  Perhaps better even than all the rest.

God Rested.  And we who are created in God’s Image are called to rest as well. It may well be the hardest thing we do in a time and place where our very way of life seems to demand that we always be moving, always producing, always doing.  My guess is that it may also be the most important thing we who worship God are called to do.  For in our simply resting we acknowledge that we are not finally really in charge, in control, or able to affect all things.  Our bodies, our intellects, our spirits, our wills are also only gifts we are called to steward. And without rest?  None of the rest works quite so well.

I know this, I do.  I expect you do, too.  But knowing this alone does not make it so.  So I pause now to ask all of us:

  • What would it look like to adopt and practice ‘rest’ as a ‘spiritual discipline?  How shall we rest in this season?
  • What will that rest look like for you and for me?
  • How might our ‘rest’ set us apart from the rest of the world?
  • How can our very resting be a visible witness to our trust in God?

Indeed, perhaps it is in our ‘resting’ we best acknowledge power gift of “The Holy Trinity” that we are called to ponder now.

3 comments

  1. Bob Kramer says:

    Janet,
    Thanks you so much for the sidewalk image. For the children’s sermon I used a carpet remnant and drew the hopscotch on it and place it down the center aisle of the church. We played, we rested, we explored being created in God’s Image.

  2. Raye says:

    Well, Pastor Janet, I am indeed trying to do this resting thing! I think that is a great idea to practice it as a spiritual discipline! I am afraid that I am guilty of being too busy most of the time. I am really trying to be intentional about sitting outside on these nice days and just sharing some quiet time with my husband. I am trying to quiet my mind from thoughts of: I should be in doing the dishes, I need to fold that load of clothes in the dryer, I should be weeding that area around the lilac bush, etc., etc. You get the idea! I am instead beginning to focus on just enjoying the time spent sitting with my husband and just living in the moment ~ sitting in the sun, listening to the birds chirping, looking at the flowers blooming, smiling at the beauty around me. Being grateful that my loving husband is beside me. I have several friends who have lost their husbands to cancer. They would give anything to have that quiet time with their spouse again! Our lives on this earth are too short to spend them constantly being ‘busy’. We all need a time of rest!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *