Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hebrews 4:1-13

In this part of the letter to the Hebrews, the author tells us that God’s “...promise of entering his rest is still open.....” and that “...it remains open...”

It’s natural for us to think that God’s “promise of entering his rest” refers to our life with God when we die. After all, many a headstone is engraved with the message: “Rest in Peace.” In funeral homes, we often hear such comments as: “She’s at rest now.” Even the Burial Service in the Book of Common Prayers includes such prayers as: “May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

In the letter to the Hebrews, however, we are told that God is offering his promise of rest right now. We can Rest in [God’s] Peace “Today, if you hear his voice.”

During our Sunday services Fr. Rob says, "The peace of the Lord be always with you," and we turn to our neighbor and offer the same. Except for that brief period, we probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to have God's peace, to Rest in Peace, in our daily lives. But there are times when we do crave God's rest. We crave God’s rest when we experience pain, like the loss of a loved one, or the heartache of a broken relationship, or the anxiety of a serious illness. We pray, often pleading with Him, that God take our burden and give us peace, give us rest.

Fortunately, pain and suffering are not required for us to receive God’s rest. What is required, per this letter, is having faith in God’s word, obeying His laws, and making every effort to live as His word teaches.

What can be more worthwhile than working to receive God’s rest today? With faith and obedience, we’re already half way there. The final piece involves the choices we make each day in living life as His word teaches. What effort will you make daily to Rest in God’s Peace? Today, how will you live His word?

May the peace of the Lord be always with you. Amen.

Martha Olson

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