Written by Courtney McHill, United Methodist Pastor
We have been focusing in on restoring community and now balance in our world. These are all ways that we are restoring creation to God’s loving embrace. Our personal balance in life is no exception to the rule. Part of being in God’s creation, is being willing to balance our lives in order to see God in the world.
Because we are focusing in on rest and relaxation, we are celebrating each of those moments in life. This means that there is not just one person to highlight (although we want to recognize that there are those in our midst better at this than others) but there are many moments in our daily lives to highlight. For example, let us celebrate that moment when you are full of contentment and the world seems just right and all is well. You are resting and actually taking care of your physical body as well as your soul. What does it look like?
In our first reading today, that moment of balance looks like love in complete fullness. In love, we recognize God as well as ourselves because God is love. We are called to treat one another in love. In order to do that, we must first love ourselves as much as God loves us! This love aids to our balance in life.
In our Gospel lesson, we see God lavish that love on Jesus through baptism but before Jesus really gets to work he wanders out into the desert to figure out the balance of his life. Although he will be tempted, he has nothing to do but wander and figure out his call. I am sure that he would think hard and relax along the way. I can only assume this because his ministry reflected this balance. Jesus would heal and then find a quiet place to pray. He would teach throughout the day but at the end of the day enjoyed a meal and wine with his friends. This balance between work and relaxation must have been key to carrying on his ministry. We would do well to follow his example in that area.
All of this takes practice so we celebrate you for making the moves in this direction! To all who find things to do to relax…quilting, kayaking, sitting in the sun, taking photos, reading, just being…we highlight and celebrate you. Without these things in our life, we can’t love fully into the world as we are called to do!
Quotes for the Week
“It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.” ― Paulo Coelho
“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” – Lily Tomlin
“No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick
“Who among us hasn’t envied a cat’s ability to ignore the cares of daily life and to relax completely?” – Karen Brademeyer
“The time to relax is when you don’t have the time for it.” –SydneyJ. Harris
1 John 4:17-19 (Message)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
Mark 1:9-15 (NRSV)
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in theJordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and thekingdomofGodhas come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Questions for the Week
Are there people in our midst who help us recreate?
What is restful for you? How do you relax?