Recreation, or Re-Creation?

 We all need regular opportunities for rest and relaxation, especially in a culture like ours that demands so very much of us.  But unfortunately the expectations manifest in our culture regarding rest and relaxation can be just as much a challenge to the life of faith as are those we have about work.  When opportunities for rest and relaxation are compressed into arbitrary timeframes organized around the demands of labor and activity, the result can be a frenzied attempt to squeeze as much rest and relaxation into as short a time as possible.  We come back from vacation in need of a vacation to recover from our vacation!

One of the gifts today’s church thus has to offer to the world is a different perspective on the nature of rest and relaxation.  As Christians, we recognize opportunities for rest and relaxation as nothing other than invitations to enter into the practice of sabbath.  Sabbath is not about trying to pack as many “relaxing” activities as possible into a compressed time, nor is it an excuse to do nothing.  Instead, sabbath involves stepping back from our ordinary routine for the sake of remembrance, thanksgiving, and celebration in response to all God has done for us.

In other words, the practice of sabbath is more about re-creation than it is about recreation.  It’s about “making new” the gifts God has given to us by surrendering them for a time so that God’s Holy Spirit might refresh and reinvigorate them (and us).  

This summer, go deep in your life of faith.  Putting down one or two of your spiritual practices for a few months may indeed be a good thing.  But do so only in order to make room in your life to go deeper into worship, deeper into prayer, deeper into silence as you wait patiently for the Lord’s renewing touch.

Step back from the ordinary, but only so you can turn your attention to the extraordinary: the gift of a new creation, made available to us today through the Holy Spirit.  Make this summer about something other than the frenzied pursuit of amusement: instead, enter into the stillness and silence of God’s sabbath rest, and let God re-create you in the image of the one who is our sabbath rest, our Lord Jesus Christ.

--By The Rev'd Canon Andrew Grosso