recreate, expand, space, trust

The summer is here. It’s time for holidays and summer songs and – just maybe – a bit of sunshine… In the rhythm of our year, there is no other month where so many people are taking a block of time off work or study to play, go away, and just take some time for themselves. But it’s not always restful is it?


Each year, we re-publish or point again to this blog – rest… in his presence – which seems to have timeless relevance for many people.

And each year, we encourage ourselves and each other not to take a holiday from God when we step away from our usual location, routine and commitments to serve in Christian community.

It is God who is the greatest source of refreshing – the best person to get away with in your summer or at any other time.

So we want to issue this invitation to us all again – to use our holidays and the generally quieter pace of August to rest… in his presence.

But this year, we want to invite you in to something deeper and beyond.

For the past eighteen months or so, God has been speaking to a number of us in and around the Sanctuary’s praying community about what rest really is – and how it is truly possible to live from it in our every day.

The Message version of Matthew 11:28-30 says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Jesus’ invitation here isn’t to come on vacation! It’s so much better than that. It’s a permanent life-choice; a decision to live differently – from a place of dependency rather than striving. A lifestyle of watching for what the Spirit is doing and stepping into that… even in the midst of the struggles of the narrow path, taking up the cross and facing opposition.

This is where the real joy of the Christian life is! It’s not based on circumstance so it can’t be overcome by it! It’s based on outlook, relationship and the work God has done, is doing now and will do in the future.

The REST letters in the picture at the start of this blog were created at Christmas by Barbara Macnish, who is on the Sanctuary’s Management Group and a regular contributor of both inspiring words and staggeringly beautiful art. They were a gift for the Sanctuary’s co-founders and act as a constant reminder of – and meditation on – Jesus’ invitation.

Note that there are wild geese flying across the letters. That this rest is not static, passive or stagnant. Instead, each follower has heard the call and is flying in the slip-stream of their leader.

Saying yes to him they simply worship and follow; worship and follow.

Barbara sent us another gift a couple of weeks ago that is helping us enter still more into the depth of Jesus’ invitation to rest and live in the ‘unforced rhythms of grace’. It’s a beautiful acrostic that unpacks a fuller meaning of true rest.

We couldn’t resist sharing it with you so you could remember it and – with us – focus your striving purely on entering his rest:

Recreate (let him recreate me each day into the person he’s made me to be)

Expand (reach beyond my walls, my here and now, my worries, into all the beauty, light, love and immensity that is the eternal Father)

Space (find space – physical, mental, emotional, quiet – for connection with him)

Trust (walk in step with him knowing he’s got all the details and his goodness triumphs)   

We love this invitation so much, we’re going to put it in our window next week to share it with everyone who walks or drives by too! so watch this space for photos of that…

But meanwhile, we want to leave you with this prayer:

This summer and beyond may we all simply just worship and follow; worship and follow. Then we will truly be at rest. In You.

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