Wednesday, June 12, 2019

An Undistracted Peace


I spent Monday holed up in a little cabin in the woods—with no internet, no cell service, and heck, no running water—and it was glorious! With the beginning of a new sermon series coming this Sunday (and a challenging one at that), I needed to spend some undistracted time in serious sermon preparation. And that’s exactly what happened!

It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when interruptions are eliminated and attention is undivided. For all the blessings technology has brought into our lives, it has also opened the Pandora’s Box of procrastination and disturbance. It’s pretty hard to get things done when emails keep coming, the lure of Facebook looms, and the distraction of the internet sucks us into its vortex.

Never have we needed the wisdom of the Sabbath more.

We need moments, hours, and days to unplug from the tether of technology and unwind from the chaotic cacophony of our busy existence. We need room in our schedule where we can’t be reached by anyone but those we let into those spaces (including, at times, no one). We were rhythmically created to rest and never designed for the stressful schedules we keep.

We need time where we can’t be reached and we won’t be bothered.

So, let’s build this unplugging practice into our daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms. Let’s be intentional about finding moments, both short and long, where we can unwind from our stressful, busy, multi-tasking world. And let’s spend those moments being unadulteratedly present to both the work and rest God is inviting us into.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Recreation & Re-Creation


I get my money’s worth out of my summers.

There’s soccer on Mondays and Wednesdays, softball on Tuesdays and Thursdays, hiking, mountain biking, and camping. God bless Mandy for letting me keep that crazy schedule. And then there’s family activities—from swimming at the pool and playing at parks to riding our bikes and taking family walks—that keep our summers full of fun in the sun. And I love every minute of it.

Now, that routine might be a bit extreme, but the point I’m trying to illustrate is the importance of recreation. As humans—and I would argue especially as people of faith—it is vital that we take time away from the busyness of work and school and life to simply relax our bodies, refresh our minds, rejuvenate our souls, and enjoy our world.

You see, all recreation is deeply and inherently spiritual. To recreate is to re-create.

When we play…when we rest…when we connect with creation and community…we are participating in the re-creation of the world. Creation was endowed by God with a rhythm—six and one, six and one, six and one—designed for us to beautifully labor as the stewards of creation, but then take time to rest, rejuvenate, and step back to enjoy the wonder of God’s goodness.

We too often don’t operate within the boundaries of this sacred rhythm, however, so the world is not as it was intended to be. Creation is off-kilter. But when we recreate—when we pause from the daily grind and step away from the busyness of life—we allow the world to re-create. When we do what we love, we partner with God in re-creating our world. When we connect with who we love, we are re-creating the world as it was meant to be.

The original covenant God made with his people was a contract of re-creation—where God would bless his people so they would be a blessing to the world—co-creating a new and better existence alongside the Creator. And this co-creating task has not changed. We still bear this awesome responsibility of re-creating the world alongside the Creator, and one way this co-creational process can occur is through simply recreating in ways that lead to refreshment, rejuvenation, and joy.

When we pause from the busyness of life, engage in the lovely and life-giving things of this world, and do so with others, we partner with God in the renewal of all things.

So, spend this summer recreating as a means of re-creation. Have some fun. Do some things you love to do but never make time for. Spend time doing nothing with people who mean everything. Play, be silly, get muddy and wet. Share your dinner table with good friends. Share your life with your neighbors. Take time to rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy our world. And as you re-create your body, mind, and soul, you’ll be partnering with God in re-creating our world.