Living Rest



Rest is a neglected concept in our culture.  We measure our lives by utility, efficiency, and output.  Ours is a world that gets anxious about the GNP (gross national product) not GNR (gross national rest).  And anxiety is exactly what we produce in our culture, along with frustration, anger, fear, envy, depression, exhaustion, and a whole host of emotional, physical, and spiritual ailments.

Rest has been woven into everything we have focused on the last four weeks.  Our relationship with God is a love relationship that our spiritual practices nurture.  Rest is a natural gift from our practices. We fast so that we can let go of the compulsiveness and too much of our lives and then rest in God’s love and goodness.  We sit on our porch swings of prayer for rest and refreshment, comfort and conversation with God who delights in our company.  We spend time in scripture so when we are tempted to mistrust God, we can rest in knowing that God really does love us and is the one who meets our needs in love. 

Psalm 23, our scripture this week, is a profound gathering together of our Lent reflections.  The words are so familiar.  Read them this week with new eyes and ears.


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil; for you are with me;

your rod and your staff — they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.   — Psalm 23


Look back over the past week. How are you unwrapping that gift from God (your intention) this Lent? God specializes in surprises and possibilities, so have a curious awareness as you grow deeper and wider in your love relationship with God and others.

How are your spiritual practices going? Are you restful and trusting or frustrated and anxious? Either way (or anywhere in between), let that curious awareness help you understand why your practices are going well or not so well.


Do you need to give yourself permission to pause and rest with God?

This week we focus on Rest in our scripture reading. Are there any words or ideas that especially resonate with you or challenge you?

Ponder these words.

You might re-write this psalm in your own words like we did with Psalm 121.

Read each section of the psalm asking:

- What do these words say?

- What do they mean for me?

- Rewrite each section using your reflections.

- Talk to God with your psalm in prayer.

- What is the invitation in these words—both the psalmist’s words and your own—for you and your life right now?


For this week's prayer,

pray Psalm 23 this week, both the original and your rewrite.