“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
One of the great blessings and privileges of being a Baptist Minister, comes when a Church (or in my case an Association) makes possible a sabbatical ‘rest’. As you read this, I am enjoying such a period of ‘rest’.
Why am I feeling the need to put inverted commas around that word? Perhaps it’s because, if I’m honest with you, I feel guilty about resting. Especially when I know how busy everyone is, and how my colleagues are no doubt having to pick up additional responsibilities while I’m away. Perhaps it also has something to do with the way we justify this privilege with a list of all the things it will enable us to do and to achieve. And so, we often ask “and what are you going to do on your sabbatical?”
Of course, activity is important. We are called to serve, and to work “with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23) But the conversation between our Lord and his beloved friend Martha, should remind us that there is a better thing – to make time to sit at his feet, listening to what he has to say (Luke 10:38-42).
As I shared with you in my last Heartbeat Introduction, I am an activist by nature, and I am not entirely comfortable just sitting, listening and waiting for God to speak. So, I am using this sabbatical to explore some different contemplative approaches to prayer and scripture. This will include some weeks living with communities for whom this contemplation, and a rhythm of prayer, worship and service is their practice. These times will be supplemented by relevant reading, and a greater commitment to personal retreat and reflection. And I wouldn’t doubt I’ll make time to fish and go walking too!
I will greatly value your prayers for all this.
So thank you for allowing me this time of rest, and I look forward to chatting with folk about what I have learned and experienced, when I get back in December.
With love in Christ,
Neil Le Tissier