As the temps and humidity rises it is time to slow down. As the Greeks and Romans call them, the days of July and August are the dog days. The southern hemisphere could teach us here – it’s time for an afternoon siesta.
Some of you might be thinking I am crazy saying it is time to slow down. With this Covid thing since March, all of us have been forced to slow down already. Many are saying it is time to get busy again. Since we cannot go anywhere and do anything, slowing down has been the agenda for the past couple of months.
I personally am not so sure that is true. Slowing down seems to go against the grain of the American Ethos. We can only slow down so long before we start to lose it and rioting begins in the streets. As a matter of fact, listing to the radio the other day they were highlighting just how little we have slowed down. It appears the lumber industry is booming. People are building, remodeling, putting on patios and decks like never before. With so much time on their hands, it has become time to WORK on those projects we have been thinking about. That may be a very useful and, in some cases, even a productive and relaxing use of our spare time. Good for all who have engaged in this.
But it appears we have not slowed down and relaxed in the area of anxiety, worry, and wondering what tomorrow will bring. We do not fare well in those areas where we have little to no control (we are often just too self-centered to realize that we really have control of nothing).
A few weeks back we prayed the collect for the word which encourages us to slow down a little bit with the Word of God. It bids us to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the Word instead of gulping it down so we can run out the door and get to work.
In our frenzied world of instant communication and high-speed transportation, where everything moves at the speed of sound and light, we tend to look at our time in the Word of God the same way. Eugene Peterson compared meditation on the Word to having a lozenge slowly dissolve in your mouth. Our tendency is to crunch it and move on to the next flavor.
We hurry far too much for our own spiritual health and well-being. We race through the Creed and the Our Father as though they were a timer of how much time we need to spend washing our hands or brushing our teeth before we can be done. In Church, we anxiously glance at our watches when the preacher goes beyond his allotted minutes or when the liturgy exceeds the agreed upon hour of prayer. We are always rushing to the next thing and through the place where we are.
In many regards I think we feel GUILTY if we slow down. So, let me just absolve you and give you permission to slow it down. God gave the sabbath day for rest; rest for the body and rest for the soul. It is ok if you take some time for recreation as long as the recreation does not become your god. It is ok to lay on your back and look at the sky and imagine the clouds to be animals or just to marvel at what God has made as long as creation does not become your god. Your body and your mind may need a little siesta under the tree.
Your soul needs it too. Meditate on the Word of God. Hear His Word and chew on it for a while. Be still and know the God is God and that He has your life in His hands.
He has made you, redeemed you, and sanctifies you in the truth. He loves you and promises that nothing will ever take you out of His hands, EVER.
That means fear and anxiety and guilt and shame can all go their own way. Come to Jesus and His word and in your weariness you will find rest for your soul. The heat may be rising, but Jesus gives a cool refreshing glass of water – the forgiveness of all your sins.
Enjoy August! You do not need to hunt down the business in life – it will always be there; but it is not the Lord of your life.