Today we consciously think about the car’s gas gauge. We keep one eye on that needle as it slips toward the red line, dreading the next trip to the gas station. The cost of fuel for our cars eats up an ever increasing portion of our weekly budgets. Consequently, most of us endeavour to car pool whenever possible. It’s easy to be aware of the needs of the environment when we are motivated by the amount of money in our wallets or bank accounts.
Our bodies also need the fuel of rest in order to function efficiently. Most youngsters, after a day of school and play, sink into ten or twelve hours of untroubled sleep. Teens tend to enjoy their twelve hours between one a.m. and one p.m. whenever possible. They know their bodies need rest, too.
By the time we reach forty, sleep like gasoline for our cars, feels like an expensive essential luxury. Demands on our time have multiplied. Between our regular day job, and extra-curricular work as family taxi driver and problem solver, housekeeper, community volunteer and whatever else we do, we have to ration out our time for sleep. We’ve developed a pattern of offering our bodies just enough fuel to keep going. Psychologists tell us that sleep deprivation is an effective form of torture. When I look at today’s parents, and some of today’s seniors and young people as well, I see faces grey with fatigue.
What wisdom does the Bible offer for this dilemma? In Genesis, God does the work of creation from morning till evening. Then God stops to rest and proclaim that day’s work good. God repeats this for six days. On the seventh, God rests all day. This simple pattern requires intentionality. Like a long distance runner, we must pace ourselves on life’s journey. Sleep is an essential fuel. We cannot live well without it.
It’s useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night anxiously working for food to eat, for God gives rest to his loved ones. Psalm 127.2
Easter weekend is over. The Chocolate Easter eggs and bunny rabbits have disappeared from the store shelves. Commercial interests have marched on to Mother’s Day.
For Christians, Easter didn’t end on April 9th. We celebrate Easter each and every Sunday, all year long. That’s why we worship on Sunday rather than on Saturday like our Jewish and Muslim friends. We have our day of rest and celebration on the first day of the week, because our Christian story tells us that Jesus rose on that day.
Two thousand years ago, we committed the ultimate act of violence and rejection. We endeavoured to kill God. The joy that we celebrate at Easter is that we failed. No evil, no darkness has enough power to destroy God. On that third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, God showed us that goodness and love always triumph over evil. No matter what we have done, said, or thought, God’s love for us cannot be defeated. When we experience our guilt and ask for new life, God’s forgiveness is there waiting for us. New life is possible. The spark of God’s goodness and love that is born in each one of us can rise up and transform us.
The wonder of Easter is that God wants to work through us. Regardless of our past mistakes, God’s love lifts us up and sets us on a new road. We can speak out for justice. We can share willingly and easily of our abundance. We don’t have to live in fear of tomorrow.
The new life we are trying to live means that Easter is with us every single day. Like babies, we begin with a few halting footsteps. We can speak up when we hear a friend speak ill of another person. Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, we can refill our bottles from our taps. We can write a letter in protest when our government’s policies appear unfair. With each new step, we gain more of God’s courage. Easter is about transformation, about God’s victory over the darkness in each one of us. Easter is never over.