Isaiah 56:6b-7a – All who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant — these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Rest can lead to joy because it creates a new perspective in us. When we choose to rest it can remind us that we don't have to be compulsively responsible for the world and everything in it. Rest can remind us that God is in charge, if we choose to do so.
Rest can lead us to an experience of joy because it leads to a renewed relationship with God. As the chosen text for today puts it, God promises to lead those who choose to be Sabbath-keepers to his holy mountain. In rest we can be led to a place of joy in God's house of prayer. It is a beautiful image of God rejoicing with people who choose to rest.
A second way rest can lead to joy is because it restores us. It renews and re-energizes us because it allows us to balance our "being" with our "doing". When we make the choice to cease doing for a time, our senses are opened again to the world around us. We can see life with new gratitude and awe. This gratitude and awe can produce joy if we choose to express our gratitude and awe.
Rest frees us to be what we are — creatures. We are creatures who can choose to work and play, give and receive, weep and laugh. Today we can choose to balance our working, giving and weeping with playing, receiving and laughing. But the choice is ours to make each day. Do we choose to rest?
Prayer: Dear God, help me to choose to stop doing for a time today. May your Holy Spirit assist me in my choosing to stop and remember that you are God. In making this choice may I experience the freedom and joy that comes from being a part of what you created. I confess that I am one of your creatures who needs help so as to keep the Sabbath. May your Holy Spirit bring me to your holy mountain to rest even if it is for a little while and may the choices I make today give me joy in your house of prayer. Amen.