makes me lie down

…that’s the key thing about Sabbath rest, I think — it invites a chance to step back and stand apart from all the things that usually drive and consume us that we might detect God’s presence and providence and blessing, experience a sense of contentment, and give thanks.1002718_10201418024834049_1494044623_n

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I’m writing this on the day of my 2-year anniversary at St. Simon’s. What an amazing two years it has been. I’ve been blessed to come to know and love beautiful people. My family and I have felt so embraced by this loving community. We’ve had fun and also been through challenges, deepening the mutual trust along the way—at least that is true on my end! I’ve learned so much from you as we share this adventure known as The Way. Thank you for your faithfulness, your hospitality and your love.

I love what I do. I love being a priest, and I am truly delighted to be the rector of St Simon’s and to share in ministry together with you. As a growing parish (both in numbers of people and in spirit), there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes to nurture and support parishioners, staff, teams and the parish as a whole. And what a joy to be a growing parish! It is likely just the way I am built, but I can very easily be caught up in the ‘more’ of things, aware that there are more things ‘left undone’ than I would like and knowing there is always more to do than I am able to fulfill. That said, I am aware of Jesus’s invitation (command?) to his disciples to ‘come apart and rest awhile’ and of the importance God places on rest, Sabbath, in the ten words known as the Ten Commandments.  The “ten essentials” for abundant living make clear that rest is an integral part of life.

David Lose puts it this way:

…that’s the key thing about Sabbath rest, I think — it invites a chance to step back and stand apart from all the things that usually drive and consume us that we might detect God’s presence and providence and blessing, experience a sense of contentment, and give thanks. But that’s hard to do. No wonder the Psalmist says quite honestly that the Lord didn’t simply invite rest but rather confesses that the Lord “makes me lie down in green pastures.” We are a people that desperately needs rest yet resists it. And so the Lord commands it.

Have you ever wondered why God had to spell out the importance of resting? It seems strange in some ways, nestled between the commands about our relationship with God and those about how we are to treat one another, this remembering to rest on this day of blessing. Apparently our inclination to over-fill our lives came long before the ‘time-saving technology’ that ironically can be all-consuming. The wisdom of God affirms that the rest we so desperately need is exactly what roots us, “grounds us,” into Gods’ very self, filling us and transforming us with holy love. Times of rest and renewal are essential. They connect us to our source which in turn empowers us to engage with others steeped in the radical love we have tasted.

So as much as I love what I do, I, too, need rest and renewal. The kids are away at the camps they love. Jim and I will be spending a week at Ring Lake Ranch, the ecumenical retreat center ranch in Dubois, Wyoming where we first met. The Ranch is an amazing place–even aside even from the powerful connect we particularly have there. “Ready to be refreshed and renewed: Join us for renewal in sacred wilderness,” their website invites. It is truly one of the most healing and life-giving places I know. God’s summer home, as a friend once referred to the Wind River Mountain Range in which the ranch is nestled. We will hike and horseback ride, square dance and read, sharing time together and meeting others on the journey. And we will come home refreshed and renewed to re-engage those around us steeped in the presence of God’s blessing.

May you enjoy renewal in your own lives this summer, wherever and however that happens for you. Know that it is God who is drawing you to refresh in the springs of love.

Pastor Elizabeth

07.30.15