Opinion

Slow down, keep quiet and get some rest

Is it not quiet wisdom that humanity needs?

Early in the Bible, we are told something vital about the rhythms of God, the universe and everything else.

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It comes simply and powerfully in Genesis 2: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Quiet and reflective hearts seem rare these days.

From that stems the commandment given to the Hebrews – You must honour the Sabbath and keep it holy.

Sabbath is about more than external rest for the body; it is about inner rest of the soul.

It is in the Sabbath that we are gifted with the weekly reminder of eternal rest to come and of the heavenly kingdom on Earth. And within the Sabbath we are reminded of selah – the word that appears 71 times in the Psalms and calls us to “reflect on this”; to ponder the big questions and listen to wisdom in the silence.

Quiet and reflective hearts seem rare these days.

Many of us say life moves too fast. It’s as if we were made for clocks rather than vice versa. That’s why we have instant coffee, instant gratification, instant replay in a world dominated by instant access and smartphones.

Is it not quiet wisdom that humanity needs? We generally fear silence, filling in the gaps between speech with background television or music; anything to avoid the awkward silence.

The irony is that it is in silence where we are mostly likely to hear God. Psalm 46:10 states: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Being still reminds us that God is in control, and we are called to simply listen and reflect. Perhaps that’s why we avoid the reflective silence – it’s confronting.

Jesus frequently headed away from the crowds to find some solitude …

It seems God cannot be easily seen or heard in weekday noise and restlessness and we need a quiet place to touch our souls.

Jesus retreated alone into the desert for 40 days and nights before starting his mission. He frequently headed away from the crowds to find some solitude and peace just to pray.

Sabbath reflection can lead us to the place of contemplation where we can find ourselves and our loving God.

This week, I’m taking some time to pause, reflect and listen; and I want to encourage you to do the same. The Sabbath is surely a sign of the hope that we have in the world to come. Selah.

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