I read an article online this week by Holly Lake of the Ottawa Sun. It was an article about sleep. The article was really a warning about the dangers of lack of sleep. The headline was “Beware the sleep-deprived” with the sub-title “Multi-tasking lifestyle is encouraging us to scrimp on sleep, with dangerous consequences.” The article points to the mental impairment caused by lack of sleep and to high risk professions and high risk activities where that impairment can lead to mistakes with major consequences. Other articles on the web point to the negative impact of the lack of sleep on our health especially blood pressure and weight gain. In her article Holly Lake, quotes Statistics Canada, who reports that 47% of Canadians have “cut down on their sleep voluntarily.” She also makes reference to the term increasingly used in Canada to describe the metropolitan, multi-tasking lifestyle which is the “Toronto syndrome.” Ouch!
What led me to these articles was the picture in my mind of the weary Christ that we see in Mark’s Gospel at the end of chapter 4. Jesus has been busy healing and teaching in Capernaum and as the crowds grew he moved to shore of the sea of Galilee, but as the crowd grew larger he finally has to get into a boat and push out a little from shore to teach them from there. He has taught and healed and the crowd has been following him all day. Finally when evening comes he says to his disciples, let’s cross to the other side of Galilee. This is his only route to escape the crowds. The gospel says that the disciples “leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was.” Physically exhausted he lays down where he stood to teach and Jesus falls asleep.
I know that summer time is often when we get to take some extra breaks whether is it the long weekends or summer vacations, but now is a good time to reflect on our need for healthy balance of work and rest. I bring the topic up knowing that most of you already know all about this. Either you beat yourselves up about, or look at the so many of the people around you see how out of whack some folks seem to be about this. But I have to tell you that you need your rest. God rested on the seventh day of Creation. This is the foundation of the Sabbath day, the day of the week dedicated to rest. In Deuteronomy and Joshua (Dt 12:9; Josh 11:23) God promises his Chosen People rest in the land he would give them. Jesus says in Matthew chapter 11 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11 28-30)
Good news, folks, REST IS IN THE BIBLE!
The Rev’d Rob Park