On Sunday August 7th our minister Rev. Christine Gillespie led worship. Worship began when we sang, ‘Come let us with our Lord arise’. The first reading was from Ecclesiastes 3.1 onwards about there is time for every purpose. We then sang ‘The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want’. The first reading from the New Testament was Romans 12.9-18 about the marks of a true Christian. Christine led the prayers of intercession. We sang ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ before Christine read the gospel reading from Matthew 11.28-30.
Christine preached. She commented about how a child would say, ‘I’m bored’ whilst a busy headmaster would like time to be bored. John Wesley was never bored; he occupied his whole day from early morning; even riding his horse on a loose reign so he could keep on doing his reading; he took several services a day; published books and established Methodist groups. John Wesley expected others never to waste time. Why do some people have so little time? Time is a perishable gift, which cannot be saved or banked we need to use our time efficiently doing different tasks. People like us do round robin letters to save time. People say they would do the same, if they had their time again. We can learn from how we have spent time, but we can never have that time back again.
John Wesley did not just believe in going to those, who needed him but to those who needed him the most! He believed in using the time he had well; he met the people and then moved on. The Pope spoke to a large group of young people and encouraged them to make a difference in the world, even taking an interest in politics.
When we drive a long way there are regular notices reminding us that tiredness can kill so we need to take a break. We need holidays or times of rest and refreshment or even at home when you are retired we need to stop and rest at times. On August 9th I felt shattered and could do nothing but read and rest most of the day; I knew I had things to do but I knew I needed rest. I did still take Piper our dog for a long walk in the morning but a shorter walk in the evening with my beloved. Today, Wednesday 10th I am feeling better, so I have been able to do more. I just have to listen to my body and try not to feel guilty when I need to stop and just read.
Other people prefer active holidays when they can learn a new skill such as climbing. However we do it, we all need time to recharge our batteries.
Rest can be squeezed out of a day at work, if people grab a sandwich at their desks or even on holiday are in touch with work through mobile phones or laptops or IPADs. I must admit that I used to eat my lunch at the computer, although I did try to stop for about 10 minutes; however salad items took so long to crunch through that I would have needed a longer break, if I did not eat as I worked. I did break eye contact with the computer and stretched my legs and made drinks to improve the work, but I always had a backlog of work, so I didn’t like to waste time. Many of us do find it difficult to rest, but one of the Ten Commandments declares the importance of having a day of rest; in the Old Testament it was the Sabbath day that they had to stop work. Ancient cultures at that time found a day of rest very strange. Only the Jews had a day of rest.
We now understand the need for rest and reflection, so it is odd that we choose to ignore it. We remember the need to worship and meet together to refresh us. In the Ten Commandments the servants and foreigners and even the animals were to have rest. That reminds me of my Jewish friend, who could stop writing at school on a Friday when it became dark in the winter; her parents ran a hotel but they employed people to do the work on Saturdays; now I realise that is not strictly keeping that commandment! God gave the example of a need for rest when he rested on the seventh day, after six days of creation. We need rest; those who work voluntarily need a work-life balance.
Christine reminded us that the new Methodist year would be beginning soon. We need to use our time well. What are we striving for? Do we spend most of our time doing what is important? How many hours do we spend in worship, how much preparation do we make to come to worship? How many hours do we spend in fellowship or Bible study or serving others? How much time do we spend socialising, sharing coffee or just talking with each other; all these are important? Is it right to consider church priorities? What do we think we should stand for? Let’s be thankful for time spent with each other, bearing one another’s burdens. Jesus said that his yoke was easy. Work is important but so is rest.
We sang a new hymn, ‘Take this moment, sign and space’; it tells us to value the moment seeing God’s love in it; we offer all of ourselves to God for renewal and restoration. Christine began to celebrate the communion and we sang ‘The peace of the Lord be always with you’ three times, before we received the bread and wine. Worship concluded when we sang. ‘Now thank we all our God’. It was a challenging and worshipful service.