“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5).
When you slowly read through the Creation Account in Genesis chapter 1, you begin to experience the rhythm of God’s Word and work. There is a cadence, a tempo, and a beat. This is poetry in motion. “And God said…” “Let there be…” “And God saw that it was good.” “And there was evening and there was morning.” Did you catch that last line? “And there was evening and there was morning.”
So, when does the day begin? Most of us would say that the day begins when the morning alarm goes off and we stumble out of bed. The day always begins in the morning. “Not so”, says God. In the Book of Genesis, we find a different order to the day. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:5b). In the Hebrew tradition, a new day begins not at sunrise, but at sunset. Ponder that for just a moment.
In ancient Israel, the day begins in the evening. The day begins not with work, but with rest. Think about what it could mean for us to “work from our rest”, instead of “resting from our work”? I think there may be something for us to discover in this sacred rhythm of “evening and morning” and “rest and work”. Rest is where it all begins.
And rest is more than tuning out and binging YouTube videos, or getting that elusive 8 hours of sleep. Rest is not about relaxing on the back deck or hammocking in the backyard, rest is about renewal. When we rest, we take intentional time away from work to connect and commune with God, so that God may renew our souls. Rest and Renewal are two of God’s great gifts.
Next week I’ll devote some time pondering God’s gift of a full day of rest (shabbat).