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June 2024

by Rev. Phillip Girardin

The summer is a period that we go out and do all kinds of things. We go on vacations, and we spend time with family. The Summer tends to have a beginning point and ending point with family holidays that are meant to serve as reminders for the gifts that we have been given. Summer begins with Memorial Day, as we remember those who served and gave their lives upon the battlefields both here in the United States, and in far flung places around the world. It ends with Labor Day as we remember all the workers who also make our lifestyle able to be kept. During all of this we rest and we recuperate as the days between are filled with sunshine and, hopefully, good memories.

Resting become something of a big deal. Psychiatry tells us that we need to have those moments of recharge. Trainers and dieticians will talk about all different ways that our bodies need to rest. This can include resting from exercise, and it could include just making sure we get enough sleep. Resting is a big deal.

As we go on our vacations and we rest, as we contemplate the ways we rest our bodies in the more mundane, there is another rest. It is a rest that is amazing. Mankind strains daily. We strain for work, we strain for our families. We strain. The most difficult one that we strain toward is being a good person. We desire to be recognized as a good person, and in that desire we do good works, and all kinds of good things, but it's a strain. We push and we push, but the desire is never extinguished. The need never goes away. It just pushes and prods more and more.

As we grow older it can be impossible to truly get that rest as we are concerned about how we will be seen and understood. We want to mediate our eternity by trying to be a good person, but on our insides, we know we aren't good enough. We want rest more than anything.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, Come unto Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The rest that Jesus gives us is absolutely incredible. It's better than any vacation that we can take because it is a state of being completely at peace with God. The rest of Jesus is experienced every time the Body of Christ comes together and hears the Word of God and celebrates His sacraments. The rest of Jesus takes that incredible burden that we feel to prove ourselves, and takes it upon Himself. It takes all those sinful desires that we have upon Him, and gives us His freedom. All the works that are necessary for the following of the law, and the failures that go with them, Jesus takes up, and in it's place Jesus gives rest.

The rest of Jesus transcends all the wonderful rests that we enjoy during the course of the summer. Many of us come away from vacation either wishing it hadn't ended, or needing another one. The rest of Jesus is different. So long as our fear, love, and trust is put in Him, the rest never ends. We are always at peace with Him, and in Him. In a world that is disturbed by its constant roiling and churning, the peace of Jesus Christ becomes unique and sufficient as it stills all of that. It stills the taunting voices of our enemies, it quiets our fears. Jesus good work allows us to be still and rest in Him.

As you enjoy your vacations and celebration days over the next several months, keep in mind that as the Children of God, you are always in your Sabbath rest. The work of Jesus Christ doesn't have an expiration date that it must be used by. It doesn't have some incredible contractual obligations that must be met to have redemption of this rest. We simply believe, and we receive it. Your vacations, while pleasant and restful of themselves, become the very foreshadowing of something that we live in in a now and not yet fashion. We rest in Jesus Christ, but we anticipate more. Brothers and sisters, Jesus is our rest. Relax in Him this summer.

Pastor Phil

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