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Lenten Devotion - day 11

I am sorry I didn’t write yesterday. To be honest I was both busy and tired. And, if there is something I should share about Lent, it is that rest is good, and yesterday I simply needed rest.

Most of us don’t take rest anymore. We are always planning for things, working for things, worried about things, that rest seems a luxury we can’t afford. This is absurd.

Thich Nhat Hanh said it well, “We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficultly remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.”

“Be still and know that I am God,” the ancient psalm reminds us. Be still. Be quiet. Pay attention. Be aware. Listen. Watch. Breathe. Rest and be at one with what is around.

Yesterday, if I had written a letter, it would have been from a tired mind. It wouldn’t have been helpful to you. I needed rest. And I wanted to be present with those who were visiting yesterday. They deserved my attention; and attention is truly the greatest way to give love.

Rest gives us a chance to give our attention to the moment, to the gift of living that we experience only in our present moment. Rest is a way to love being a part of creation, and is one of the purest ways to worship the God of the universe. Certainly, the reason the Sabbath commandment to rest is tied into the flow of worship is because rest is pure worship.

When we are busy endlessly, whether that is working, or playing, or thinking, or reading, or online, or watching TV, or anything else that isn’t simply being, we miss so much life.

Lent is about renewal, reflection, and repentance. I believe the best ways to experience this are through fasting, mindfulness, meditation, and prayer. Fasting from everything that makes us busy for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, even a day, and mindfully resting allows us to renew, reflect on our thoughts, and repent.

That word repent comes from a Greek word which means “change your mind.” There are many things that a well spent Lent resting might reveal that would cause a change of mind. Where are my gifts and blessings best utilized? Is my time well used? What habits don’t serve or take away my peace of mind? Where can I find the strength to overcome?

Resting with awareness, and experiencing the pure worship of being still with God calms the endless chatter in our mind and lets us experience peace in the Divine. Or, if doesn’t calm the chatter, at least we get to observe it. Observing the movements of our minds helps us change our minds.

You have a lot going on. You alone know the litany of responsibilities coupled with leisure activities you attempt in one day. Do you attempt rest? Do you take it? Ever wondered why it’s a commandment (and the second most discussed commandment in the Scripture)?

It’s a commandment because we need our rest. Not simply for rest’s sake, but for awareness and worship too. Our rest, and the awareness and worship that are part of rest, bring about renewal, reflection, and repentance. So Lent is at least partially about rest, and maybe the biggest piece. Rest well this season. You need it. We all do. It’s how we live well.

Until tomorrow my friend,