As we prepare for the new year, we invite you into 2024: The Year of Rest.
Time and time again God calls us into rest through scripture. We read stories of Jesus retreating into the hills, journeys being paused, and creation being celebrated with rest.
So what does it mean for God’s people to engage in rest?
Throughout 2024 we will explore this question, not just through sleep or vacation time, but through little moments each day that nourish and renew us.
Instead of our traditional daily Bible reading guide we invite you to engage in daily rest practices, using the seven types of active rest. By grounding these practices in a weekly Bible verse, we pray this guide will help you discover moments of rest and peace.
Our grounding verses for January are brought to us by Shea McGrew, treasurer of the Synod Council.
Here’s what he had to say when asked how he rests:
I wish I had developed good habits for getting rest and renewing myself many years ago, but it didn’t happen. My career was consuming, involving extensive travel and many late nights and early mornings. When I was home, there was the press of family activities, church involvements, and a job that required me to be on top of things and available.
Today, while I have multiple jobs (two, both part-time) and some volunteer commitments, there is more time and no good excuse for not having habits for rest and renewal. I have a hard time slowing down, but two things force me into that mode: 1) prayer time and 2) exercise.
Prayer time is essential, and mine is in the evening. God, I suspect, doesn’t want me to enter into that time rushed and distracted, so I try to calm down and pray slowly and purposefully, and then just try to be silent for a while and open myself to what God might want to put on my mind or heart.
Exercise (usually running), while not rest in the normal sense, actually produces a slow-down in me. When finished, I have worked out some physical anxiety and I am more alert for the rest of the day. This is all about habits and discipline, I know, and those two things renew me in a way nothing else does.
~ Shea McGrew