Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Longing for Rest

"If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account" (Philippians 1:22-24).

At age 34, I feel tired. Lately, there has been this gnawing need to—for lack of a better term—REST. And as one who has been given a foretaste of heaven through my Spirit-wrought union with Christ, that is where I long to be. I echo with the Apostle Paul the desire to be with Christ, to enter into the eternal rest, awaiting the consummation of my humanity through the covering of disembodied nakedness with the raiment of redeemed flesh.

But then, as with the Apostle, I must reflect on whether this desire is nothing more than laziness. Is this the sluggard in my fallen humanity that seeks to escape the duties of the present life? Do I not have more that I need to do in the service of Christ in His Kingdom? The love and nurture of my family, is this not an integral part of my ministry? The gifts that the Lord has bestowed upon me, do I dare expire without having used them for the building up of His Body in the grace and strength that He provides?

Indeed, I must remain here, in this earthly tent, to do my part in the coming of His Kingdom and the doing of His will. The rest that my soul now seeks the Lord has generously provided for in the Sabbath that He has instituted from since the creation of the world, and within it my sustenance through the means of grace (Word and sacrament). This Sabbath also voices the longing for the eschatological rest that still await fulfillment, and as I keep this day holy, I cry out along with it for the day when the pain and struggle of this life are all but a distant memory—when every day is rest.

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