Work and Rest: The Rhythm of a Godly Life

SCRIPTURES and REFLECTION QUESTIONS for SUNDAY 090609

Genesis 1: 26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2: 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
2: 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.
8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
3: 17 And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (NRSV)

Then Good News (Gospel) Word
Mark 6
7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them….
…. 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. (NRSV)

Call to Worship Reading — Psalm 55
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God; do not hide yourself from my supplication.
2 Attend to me, and answer me; I am troubled in my complaint.
I am distraught 3 by the noise of the enemy, because of the clamor of the wicked.
For they bring trouble upon me, and in anger they cherish enmity against me.
4 My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.
6 And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;
7 truly, I would flee far away; I would lodge in the wilderness;
8 I would hurry to find a shelter for myself from the raging wind and tempest.”

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  1. What role does labor play in your life? Do you run from it? Toward it? Does it trouble you? Are you resentful or grateful?
  2. What role does rest play in your life? Are you able to rest? Do you have trouble being still? Must you always be doing something, producing something, achieving or accomplishing something?
  3. When and how have you experienced hard work as worshipful?
  4. When and how have you experienced true rest as worshipful?
  5. How does your own sin prevent you from living into God’s best for you?

Main Theme Sentences:

  • Work and Rest are the Godly Rhythm of Life, modeled by God at Creation, Disrupted at the Great Grasp, and Restored through the Great Gift of the Incarnation of God in Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Work is a gift of God which allows us to participate creatively in the Divine Project. God desires to and will provide both your provision as you labor for Him, and your rest, if you let Him.
  • When nourishing, sustaining provision can not be attained without excessive toil, sin is somewhere present.
  • Our embracing of this Godly life-rhythm of work and rest, and our trust of God’s gracious provision through it all, is our fullest act of worship with our lives.

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