If you are a regular visitor to this page you might have noticed that for the first time since March 2020 there was no weekly blog post. What happened? I was on holiday for a week in a delightful rural setting in Shropshire.
My wife and I were beginning to forget what a holiday felt like. It was good to get away from it all and enjoy near perfect weather in beautiful surroundings. We had a relaxed time together, relaxing with friends we have known for over four decades.
We celebrated a special birthday with good food, treasured memories and lots of laughter. There was time to slow down and take in what it is easy to miss in the common round and daily task. We marvelled at the swirling majesty of red kites effortlessly gliding across blue skies. We enjoyed breathing in fresh air walking along tree lined paths, surrounded by green hills and bright blue skies.
I am reminded of that somewhat overblown ad for the famous soft drink: “The pause that refreshes”. That is an excessive claim for a can of fizzy drink, but it is a great way to describe what happens when we hit the pause button in our lives.
Our regular lives can sometimes leave little room for variety. Each day can be full of the same old same old. I value order and routine because it suits my personality and helps me to be more productive. Yet I do know that my daily routine can function in an orderly way but becomes less effective when I am running on empty.
If you are a preacher, I hope that you are going to get a good holiday this summer.
A holiday means not taking your work with you. This has become more difficult in an era of digital connectivity. It is interesting that people talk about having a break as “switching off”. This is a metaphor, but it is a suggestive one. Is there a way we can switch off from phone, email and social media so that we can be set free to live in the moment?
In forty years as a preacher I think that having regular days off and holidays have been a vital safety valve in my life. We all need to experience opportunities to have a reset, a restoration point, where we can recharge our batteries.
One of the friends we shared our holiday with had an electric car. Their car had a generous range on full charge, but it could only go so far before needing to be plugged into a charging point.
Perhaps it is important to add that this recharging needs to happen every week and every day. I have one of those personalities that can switch off easily. It can be taking a daily walk, listening to a piece of music, being lost in a fun book or enjoying a slow meal with friends.
I try every day to find what T. S. Eliot called “the still point of the turning world”.
It is what God calls “Rest”. Rest needs no justification. It is a case of following the maker’s instructions.