People of God, this is our work

chairs
Hello Dear Ones,   As I write this letter, the gospel for Sunday has to do with large crowds of people swarming Jesus, and Jesus’ own need for rest.    Which makes me think of three different stories that I’ve heard.   The first is not a story but something I heard in a podcast (I listen to a lot of podcasts) on leadership.  The speaker was making the point that it is the job of Christians to relax into God’s care.  He was speaking primarily to pastors and reminding us that this is our vocation: to live in a way that is saturated in a trust in God that relaxes us (a tall order for the more anxiously inclined such as myself).  Not to be rockstars, not to preach the most incredible sermons, not to launch new initiatives; but to live in such a way that trusts that Jesus is Lord and I am not.    The second is a story I heard about Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.  He was teaching a course to a bunch of pastors.  Before passing out the syllabus he asked them how many of them knew, without a doubt that they were completely and totally loved by God.  No one raised their hands.  Desmond Tutu ripped up the syllabus and said something akin to, “Well then that’s the syllabus; to convince you deep down that you are loved by God, because apart from that, nothing that I teach you will do much good.”   The third story is a story about Mother Theresa.  She was working with a group of nuns and if my memory serves me, one of the nuns asked something like, “What is our goal?” To which, Mother Teresa replied, “To belong to Jesus.”   People of God, this is our work: to be wooed into trusting God, belonging to Jesus, letting ourselves be loved completely by God.  Like a swimmer floating flat on their back in the ocean, letting the waves buoy them up, we live leaning back into the arms of God.  What tasks do you have to do today? How can you do them with this orientation?   The theologian, James Alison says that the natural byproduct of a life of faith like this is relaxation; that in all things we would bring a spirit of relaxation.  Which isn’t to say that we don’t work hard, or exert effort, but that we don’t do any of these things from a place of anxiety and fear, but relaxation and trust. Relaxation isn’t laying on a lawn chair drinking chilled rose.  It’s letting go of the belief that you God and taking up to belief that God’s got you.    In these summer months, I challenge you to rest.  To rest like your life depends not on your work/efforts/resume/to-do lists/productivity but on the God to whom you belong.    Peace, Pastor Bekki