Rest Word

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My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from the Holy One. God alone is my rock and mysalvation;God is my fortress, I will never be shaken. ~Psalm 62:1-2

What an exciting time of the year!

School is out for the summer. Teachers can catch their breath before they begin planning for the next academic term. Students get to participate in extracurricular activities like music camp, church camp, and all the sports. Parents and grandparents, perhaps they aren’t as excited since this means finding babysitters or planning events to keep their little ones busy. Gardens are bursting with life as the extreme heat of summer moves in along with those pesky, isolated thunderstorms. The air smells of bar-b-cues and freshly cut grass. The neighborhoods are coming alive, festival season commences, and farmers come to the market with their early harvests and are even preparing for the autumn harvesting season.

A different rhythm has started. Things look and feel and smell and taste different. It all is good.

In the church, we start a new season. Well, not really. We enter into a familiar season known as “Ordinary Time.” The golds of Easter and the red of Pentecost have been neatly folded and placed in their hiding places until they reemerge for next year’s lectionary cycle, Year C. Like the grass in our yards, the paraments on the pulpit lectern, the one draped on the altar (table ?), and the pastor’s stole turn green. During the time of the year when communities come alive with activity, for those of us who follow the liturgical seasons, church may seem… well… dull, bland, and very much ordinary.

Ordinary isn’t bad. Ordinary is good. In fact, I think it is an invitation. It is an invitation for us to continue the practices we have picked up thus far and to explore further what we may need to let go of to see God’s presence in our lives. It is a season ripe for naming God’s presence in cookouts and block parties when you’re knee-deep in the garden or watching your kids run through the sprinkler. This season on the other side of Pentecost is also the perfect time to respond to the Spirit’s prompting in your life to volunteer at the food pantry, lead a lesson at Vacation Bible School, or write that note you’ve been meaning to write your dear friend who is having a hard time.

For me, I’m using the reentry into “ordinary” time by revisiting my Epiphany word. Y’all remember these we handed out at church, eh? They were little starfish with words written on them, and they were meant to inspire you to do whatever word you received. Mine was “rest.”

Rest. So ordinary, right? Yet, my calendar is as full now as it was in Advent and Lent. My little Jeep Cherokee named Vic will traverse all over central Illinois for appointments and visits. In the coming weeks, I have meetings in Peoria and Petersburg, Pleasant Plains and Middletown…and beyond. If there was ever a time for me to stop and reflect on my epiphany word, it is now.
When I am in a rush, I am easily distracted and not often present with the people in my life. When I am busy, I am not usually my best self. When I’m tired, I’m quickly overwhelmed and am left buried beneath despair and fatigue.


It’s as though the Spirit knew on Epiphany what my spirit would need after Pentecost… in the ordinariness of life. Welcome, summer. Welcome, Ordinary Time. Welcome, rest.

God rested. We must, too.

What was your word? How might you ponder its meaning in your life? How can you embrace God’s guiding light in your life?

[Adam Quinn, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]


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