Did Jesus Take Holidays?
Here's the latest blog post from our Vicar, Andy, as he prepares for the summer holidays.
Summer is approaching, let's hope we get some more of this wonderful sunshine throughout August too.
When I was younger the thing I most loved about holidays or time off was the opportunity to do something different. Swimming, climbing, canoeing, going on an adventure – trying new things, seeing new places. Delighting in seeing the children try new things and the smiles and laughter of time together. I used to come back from holidays needing a rest!
Now it seems different, I am quite content to sit, sleep and relax into the things I know. I still enjoy seeing different places, but not quite as many all in the same space of time.
Perhaps it is an age thing….or perhaps and I prefer this, it is a new stage of life!
Yet maybe it is about something else. Strictly speaking, it’s difficult to find examples of believers going on 'holiday' in the Bible. Paul took trips, but the missionary journeys were hardly relaxing. Jesus got away for prayer and spiritual refreshment, but those were more like spiritual retreats than modern holidays. David once ignored his military duties in order to spend his afternoons relaxing, but that led to his committing adultery and murder—hardly a positive biblical instance of holiday!
So how we should we view it is this, Scripture provides a basis for times of rejuvenation. For one, God built cycles of rest into the order of the creation, marking one day each week to be spent away from work. Beyond that, annual festivals on the Jewish calendar provided for extended rest and recreation. The author of Ecclesiastes rightly called his readers to the pleasures of life: “Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do” Ecclesiastes 9:7. The Lord has sanctioned recreation; there is no need to feel guilty for times focused on enjoyment—this is part of God’s plan.
Rather than thinking of time away, perhaps we should reclaim the term 'holiday' (from 'holy day'). The emphasis should fall on spiritual reorientation and refreshment in order to tackle our work.
In the novel Moby Dick, Herman Melville illustrated the need for rest in service of effective work. Before the whalers realised this principle, the poor harpooner would have to row along with his colleagues in a boat pursuing the whale. But by the time they reached it, he was exhausted and ill-equipped to spear the beast with accuracy and strength. They finally decided he should ride while the others rowed, so that when the time came, he could do his job with good effect. Though he rested, it was as a means to an end and not as an end in itself.
Of course I recognise that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to take time off and to be able to have a holiday, for many in this country and abroad are not so fortunate. So in my rest, I look for purpose.
Upon my return I (and I hope and pray you too), will be ready, equipped and excited to serve, love and live for Jesus and make Him known in our town and beyond.
Every blessing as you rest,
An update from the church, in response to the recent lifting of restrictions.
I recognise we live in uncertain times and here at church we want to make Jesus as accessible as possible, whilst showing love and respect for all. So I am encouraging
'Face, Space and Grace!'
Hopefully the first two are obvious, Grace refers to having the mind of Christ in submission to others for their good – in this it is not about exercising our rights but stepping into the freedom of Christ's body and community, whereby demonstrating love for others, we show the mind of Christ.
So can I encourage you to continue wearing masks in the church building, to be mindful of others and the space we all need, and acknowledge the grace of Christ in our lives and in the lives of others.