So, summer has finally arrived! It does seem to have taken its time in coming, but now that the tennis has finished at Wimbledon, and the sound of leather on willow has begun to be heard, and the Carnival has been and gone, summer is definitely here. The schools will be breaking up soon and many will be taking the opportunity to take a break and enjoy a holiday.
Rest and recreation is an essential part of our lives. From a physical and physiological perspective, our bodies need sleep and rest to survive; from a psychological perspective we need to rest too, because it is only when we are properly rested that we can perform to the best of our abilities, and it is only when we are relaxed that we can fully enjoy the things that we like to do.
In one of the Psalms it says, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for God gives sleep to his beloved." (127:2). We can often get consumed by the pressures of work, by the chores needed to maintain a home, or by looking after family. We can all be very busy; but when we are busy, we can forget that we need time to rest. For Jews and Christians and God rested after the world had been created, and the Seventh Day, the Sabbath Day, was also a day on which people were not allowed to work.
It is important for us all to think about how much we do, and to recognise that there are times when we may need to step back, relax, and spend time with our friends and family. Recreation is re-creation: it is a time of making ourselves new. It is through our hobbies and spending time with others that we can renew and invigorate ourselves. Sometimes, taking a moment to rest and relax is more productive that madly trying to complete that never-ending to do list.
We also need to make sure that we look after each other, to notice when those around us are burning the candle at both ends and need to stop. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heaven burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) - there are times when we need to do this for others, to ask those around us whether there is anything we can do to help lighten the load that they are carrying. We all need that rest, and giving people rest can be one of the greatest gifts we can give others.
So, remember to rest and relax, and allow yourself to be re-created, ready for whatever lies ahead.
Rev'd Stephen Burge
About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.