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Gabh fois!

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6.31

In our frenetic world the 4th Commandment - remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy - is the one most of us find hardest to keep, not only because fewer shops remain closed and more sports fixtures are scheduled for Sunday but because jumping off the treadmill - even for a day - goes against the grain. And it must be admitted that, for those raised in Sabbatarian homes, there can be something oppressive about a "traditional" Sunday. In military circumstances "enforced rest" was often imposed immediately before an operation and it felt like it sounds: a contradiction in terms.

However the concept of rest deserves not to be dismissed. It reminds us that the world does not revolve around ourselves. Indeed the world will keep turning without us. Israel received that 4th Commandment so that the nation could enjoy savouring the freedom which God won for his people through liberating them from slavery in Egypt. For many even today, the opportunity to worship God in freedom and safety is a dream. So let us who are living the dream not abuse the privilege.

Yet there are obstacles and impediments to taking rest, which require to be admitted, faced and overcome. Our addiction to busyness and noise is the most obvious. Then there are the phobias and memories which might bubble to the surface, demanding our attention. And what if we get bored? True rest is not to be taken for granted. But nor is it easy for those who have lost the habit. Yet it may be just what we need, to awaken to the fact that God created us in his image as human beings not human doings...



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