I'm late, I'm Late, I'm Laaaaate
My wife and I just l-o-o-o-ved ‘Alice in Wonderland’! It was so uplifting to see such a large cast of children executing such a difficult task so competently and with such infectious joy and happiness.
We were particularly taken with White Rabbit! But he caused me to reflect on the tyranny of time and what it is doing to our own culture and lifestyle!
I can remember in my childhood (yes, that was a long, long time ago) when no shops were open on Saturday afternoon or Sunday, and when there was no organised sport on Sunday. I know saying this might trigger the question: “What planet do you come from?”, but it is true.
Some of you will want to accuse me of thinking “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” (although Laura de Feyter very ably put Nostalgia back on the map at the Year 12 Graduation Assembly!), but to me there were great advantages in living in a society that observed, willingly or unwillingly, a “day of rest”. Of course, I should not be surprised that I feel like this because the God who designed us, created us, and is concerned to maintain us in good working order, laid down this instruction in his Manual for Life: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11). The reason God gives for requiring this of us is rooted in the very Creation itself - it’s a “creation ordinance”.
Is one of the basic reasons we are finding life more and more stressful today the fact that we are not taking time to rest and meditate on God’s Word? The pressure of deadlines, trying to keep up with (over-?)commitments, interacting with social media, all take their toll on us - often to the point of eating into the time the Lord wants us to set aside to be refreshed by him.
My wife and I use the ODB Ministries Our Daily Bread for our daily devotions together. Last Saturday it was both challenging and refreshing to read the comment on Psalm 55:22a: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you.”
The notes said, inter alia: “We don’t have to take charge of every situation and try to craft the outcome - that’s exhausting! God is in control of every aspect of our life. Instead of trying to do everything in our own effort, we can find rest in God. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking him to handle our problems. Then we can pause, relax, and enjoy the knowledge that he is sustaining us.
We can only do this, of course, by heeding the “Manufacturer’s Instructions” - a task made so much harder by our society successfully robbing us of our “sabbath rest”. God intended this rest to be built-in to our lives.
Nevertheless, it would be good if we made a more conscious effort to swim against the tide, to “not let the world around us squeeze us into its mould” - as JB Phillips interprets Romans 12:2.
When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), he was probably assuming we would be serious about the underlying intention of the fourth Commandment - and that in spite of his harsh criticism of how the Pharisees had abused it!