A Conversation: Resting in Christ

By Bill Rowley–

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matt 11.28 ESV

Resting in 2020 is a challenge. One disaster follows another: Covid-19, injustices, hurricanes, tornadoes, murder hornets… the list goes on. And, apart from the heat, summertime has hardly been summertime: going outside means masks and social distancing, even at the beach.

With so many causes of anxiety buzzing about our heads, rest can be difficult to find. I’d love to hear from the St. John’s church family how have you experienced Christ’s rest (perhaps in new ways) over the summer? 

It’s only fair, given that I am hoping some of you will share, that I share first. 

Oddly enough, what keeps coming to mind when I mull over the question is a weekly phone call. Right before everything shut down, a member of St. John’s suggested we read and discuss some books together. After meeting once in person, everything shut down for Covid-19. So, we switched to a weekly phone call – something we’ve kept up through the summer. The time investment is pretty small. We read relatively short pieces of various books and chat about them for a little while. The thing is, Christ meets me in this little semi-detached piece of the Church. I find it hard to put my finger on precisely how Christ does this. I don’t think it is merely because we are reading “improving” books. I don’t think that it is that we are having discussions that are just that good. But, especially in retrospect, I can see that my soul rests in Christ during these chats.

I suppose this experience of rest is surprising to me because I associate rest with solitude and silence. But it is a narrow conception of God indeed that restricts his ability to give us the experience of his rest in other situations. But it should come as no surprise that the fellowship of Christians should be a place where Christ gives us the gift of experiencing his rest. We are the Body of Christ after all.

Here’s an invitation! How have you experienced Christ’s rest over this summer? Have you found it in familiar or unexpected places? If you’re feeling theological – what distinguishes our rest in Christ from just ordinary rest?

One comment

  1. Hi Bill,
    It seems I have been resting so much lately that I completely missed this post. Sorry for the delay in commenting. Maybe rest is God’s theme for 2020, because that is the message He has been sending me over and over this year.
    As 2020 winds down, I feel increasingly anxious about wasting another year and concerned about where I am headed in the future. I have not accomplished anything good for myself, my family, or my community…just like every other year. Each time I go to God with this lament, He tells me to “rest.”
    I’m not feeling theological, but I will tell you what I think distinguishes our rest in Christ from ordinary rest. To my mind, ordinary rest is the absence of labor or stress or some quiet time to rejuvenate the mind and body.
    I have come to think of resting in Christ as existing in His peace. For me, resting in Christ is largely dependent on my trusting Him and relinquishing control to Him. It feels like He lifts the burden of my own failed expectations and my negative judgements about myself.
    I have experienced Christ’s rest this summer by writing for this blog. Even though I sometimes feel stressed when I have to meet a deadline, I really enjoy putting my thoughts down on paper. I don’t have many friends who I can share my deepest thoughts and feelings with; so, in that way, writing blog posts has filled a void in my life. I feel like God has used this distressing time to grow my faith and deepen my relationships in the St. John’s community.

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