This week's post by Brandon Adent, a deacon at Redeemer Church. He loves words, music, and words about music. And napping.
I love and hate summer.
I love that it’s warm and not hot. I love that people seem to get social all of a sudden, making up for all the time we spent binging on Netflix in January.
But I hate that it’s only July, and I’m wiped out. Our calendar says we’ll be gone the next three weekends. That’s fine with me; I just want sleep, to completely unplug from life in my normal environment and dive into a mountain paper and words. Just for a little bit.
Rest and Community
There’s a time for that. God built the need for rest into the DNA of creation (Genesis 2.1-3, Exodus 20.8-11), and it’s important to recognize that we are finite beings with constraints on our energy and time. We need rest, in the form of days off, vacations, and free evenings. Sometimes, we see Sunday services and small midweek gatherings as impediments to rest. And sometimes they are.
But, at the same time, God has made us family. He knows that we also need one another and as a result places a high importance on meeting together (Hebrews 10.25, for example). However, we often forget our church families or the implications of our absence when we plan for time away.
I’m not at all saying we shouldn’t take vacations, or that we shouldn’t ever miss a Sunday gathering. Again, God knows we need periods of rest, and sometimes that looks like time away and unplugged.
Even if we’re going to be away for awhile, it’s possible - and important - to stay connected with what’s going on in your church community. That takes a bunch of different forms:
- Pray for everyone serving on a Sunday, for visitors, and for the needs of members of the church.
- Listen to the sermons that you miss. You can find those on the website, or on iTunes.
- Keep in touch with other people in the church to make sure you are aware of how you can be praying for them, and how they can be praying for you. If you’re in town midweek, don’t skimp on meeting if you can help it. (I say this as one often guilty of the “prep skip”).
- Check your notification settings on the City to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on in the ministries you serve in, and contribute to the discussion if you can. (This is specific to Redeemer. If you are part of Redeemer, are not on the City, and want to be, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get you squared away).
Again, by all means, if you need to unplug completely, do it. Personally, I love camping way outside cell phone range, or just turning my phone off altogether. It just gives my mind a break from all the noise.
Even without being connected by the web, we can still be connected to the life of the church by praying for services and the needs of the people we know.
Ultimately, Jesus struck this balance between rest and engagement flawlessly. We have perfect rest and community in Him, so we don’t have to be afraid or despair the repercussions of our failure.
This definitely is not a call to skip vacation, just a reminder to remember your church while you are vacationing.