God’s Rest Marks

by Chuck Summers

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” “Jesus

I’m embarrassed to admit it but one of the areas of spirituality and Creation Care that I fail at miserably is the consistent practice of th

used through flickr creative commons by Photo Phiend  

used through flickr creative commons by Photo Phiend

e Sabbath. You might think that this would not be a problem for someone who is a pastor but for me it truly is. I know that the Bible calls for Sabbath rest for both man and beast, and I am aware that Jesus practiced this himself. Still, other than a short nap here or there I seldom take time to rest as the Scriptures command.

Dr. Matthew Sleeth believes that the renewal of Sabbath rest is crucial to the health of both humans and Creation. I’ve heard him say that this must become a priority for us if we want to experience the good life and to heal the earth. Thankfully, Dr. Sleeth is currently writing a book on the subject, called “24/6″, that is due out this fall. I know that it is a book I’ll definitely have to read.

A couple of days ago I was reading Stephen Shortridge’s latest book, Deepest Thanks, Deeper Apologies. In one of the chapters Stephen offered some interesting comparisons between Sabbath rest and rest marks in a musical score. He writes: “In a piece of music, the notation for ‘rest’ is a pause in the music. The rest is as important as the note. The space that is not filled with music is a space that helps frame the music. It keeps its meter and holds the melody in place. The musical rest is a positive filling of that space, not a void.” Shortridge goes on to say, “The composer of the music carefully placed those rests as parts of the whole. To remove them changes everything about the music: its meter, its interpretation, even the melody.”

You can probably see where all of this is heading. “God wrote a piece of music”a symphony, so to speak. Its notes and directives are contained in His Word. One of those directives is to rest.” It would seem that a lot of modern individuals, like myself, have been ignoring or editing out God’s “rest marks.”

Usually each November I join our church choir so I can sing the Christmas cantata with them. Ask any choir member, and especially the choir director, and they will tell you I am notorious for missing the rest marks. I typically sing right through them. This practice messes up the sound the composer had in mind when he or she wrote the music and diminishes the choir’s presentation. That’s why everyone in the choir insists I mark and remember where the rests are found.

Dr. Chuck Summers is a pastor and photographer. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines and calendars. He has published three books: Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit and Beauty; A Year in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park; and A Year in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. You can view more of Chuck’s work at www.agpix.com/csummers. You can see more of his writings at SeeingCreation.com


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