Rest is Holy
This year my spouse and I picked up a new habit for movie nights: we each take turns picking a movie. Because I like surprises, when Thomas chooses he tells me nothing about the movie. No trailer; no genre; not even the title. This is how I ended up watching Willy’s Wonderland, a comedy-horror that plays up our childhood fears of animatronics (think Chuck E. Cheese). The hero is played by Nicholas Cage. Of course.
Cage is forced to spend the night in Willy’s Wonderland, deep-cleaning the abandoned restaurant. Before Cage gets locked in, the owner tells him, “And take lots of breaks!”
Cage takes his breaks very seriously. Every hour, his watch alarm beeps. He stops what he’s doing, grabs a can of his favorite soda, and plays pinball until his watch beeps again. Then he gets back to cleaning.
Cage takes his breaks very, very seriously — even as the animatronics come to life, even as he fights them for survival, even as he fights them to save a group of teenagers. Whenever his watch beeps, he stops, drops his makeshift weapon, grabs a soda, and plays pinball. The watch beeps again, and he heads back into the fray.
The Jewish-Christian tradition takes breaks seriously, too — in the form of the sabbath.
Our modern culture trains us up in 24/7 availability, optimization, and #hustle. In contrast, God commands:
Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, or your [children], or your [slaves]…or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your [slaves] may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day. (Deut. 5:12-15)
So it doesn’t take a leap of faith — but being a person of faith adds extra layers of meaning to our rest.
Rest is not only about recharging; rest is about spending time with God. When we invite God into our recreation, God uses it for our re-creation: to heal us, to remind us of God’s promises to ground us in who God has made us to be. Rest is holy.
As Walter Brueggemann wrote in Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now: “We used to sing the hymn ‘Take Time to Be Holy.’ But perhaps we should be singing, ‘Take time to be human.’ Or finally, ‘Take time.’ Sabbath is taking time … time to be holy … time to be human.”
We may not associate the season of Lent with rest. Instead, we think of repentance and taking on new disciplines. But remember: Lent also calls us to prayer and to simplicity. These spiritual practices make room for holy rest.
Let’s take our Lenten rest seriously, to make it part of our spiritual discipline. Set an alarm on your watch if you need to!
Feb. 24, 2021
Rev. Katherine Museus Dabay serves as university pastor at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University and takes turns writing weekly devotions with University Pastor James A. Wetzstein.
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A call to courage for 2021
- A charming tale for over-achievers
- A Lesson On Beans … and Being
- A New Place
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- A Time of Dust
- Acquiring a peaceful spirit
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Anastasis: the Greatest Story of God’s Saving Power
- Another kind of darkness
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- As if we needed a reminder
- Beacons of hope
- Better Together
- Blessings As You Go
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Fear of the Lord
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Getting through this together
- God is not overwhelmed
- Good Friday
- Grief & Graduation
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How do you keep from giving up hope?
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- Imagining Eternity
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In everything, grateful
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Jesus among us
- Killing off our future selves
- Knowing a Good Thing When We See It
- Lessons in fire building
- Let there be light!
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- Naming our demons
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- On the day after the night before
- Persistent and Extravagant
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Praying for Reconciliation
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Rest is Holy
- Right where we are
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Surprisingly Simple: Breathe!
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Trouble with Mammon
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You might be a Lutheran if…
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- WWJD? We already know
- Walking in the Light of Jesus’ Resurrection
- We had hoped
- We’re on a mission from God
- What do you do with your anger?
- What good is a shepherd?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When God uses something terrible for good
- When heaven & earth click
- When joy and sadness live together
- When stress overwhelms
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- When we are moved
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Won’t you be my neighbor?
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future