Tag Archive: Rest


Rest and Be Restored.

This was the sermon I preached in spoken word/slam poetry style yesterday at Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, Virginia.

Pastor Annabelle P. Markey
Year B – Second Sunday after Pentecost
Mark 2:23-3:6
Community Lutheran Church, Sterling, VA – June 3, 2018

 

For everyone
Who yearns to be known,
To be loved,
Appreciated,
Shown,
That they mean something –
Life rippling like rings
In a pond,
Making a difference
Before they’re gone.

Rest and be restored.

For everyone
who’s longed for,
No,
Who’s craved,
A chance to stop and breathe
Fresh air,
Filling the lungs
Expanding the chest,
Providing a way
To push on.
One day more.

Rest and be restored.

For those whose labor
Grinds them down
Day in and day out
The same old sound
The type of keys
The ring of phones
That person with the voice that nags
The boss who says,
As your confidence sags,
“you’re not enough.”

Rest and be restored.

For those who love and care
Patiently,
Patiently,
Patiently,
Waiting, wondering,
Fighting as they bear
Another’s burdens
Daring to hope,
That health will reappear
That death won’t draw near.
That time will remain
Suspended.

Rest and be restored.

For the person
who would love
To clock in and clock out
To have a job
That pays the bills –
Permits them to use their skills!
Joy in an honest wage
Not refused because of gender, race, or age,
But honored and respected for
What they’re able
To bring to the table.

Rest and be restored.

For those enslaved,
Ensnared,
For whom the chains of
Poverty,
Hunger,
Injustice,
War,
Trafficking,
And abuse,
Are weighty, clunking, clinging things,
Forged in the calloused hearts
Of other children of God.

Rest and be restored.

In the beginning,
God spoke into being
The earth spinning,
Life abundant and thriving.
Sun,
Moon,
And stars,
Shining, striving
To reflect
That awesome shimmering, splendor
Of their Creator.

Waters foaming, coursing,
Lands verdant and fertile,
Teeming with
Fanciful fish and flocking fowl,
Creatures towering and tiny,
All singing,
Dancing,
Laughing,
In praise
Of their Creator.

And on the sixth day
We entered the picture,
God-breathed dust people
Crafted to care for creation:
Love God
Love each other.
Fashioned,
Handmade
In the image
Of their Creator.

 

And then God rested.

 

So why don’t we?
Freed from slavery
In Egypt,
The people were told
Rest,
Reverence,
Remember,
Reset,
Let
Slaves,
Strangers,
And even pets! –
Have a break.

Rest and be restored.

Liberated from labor,
But no!
Much more than that,
Freed from fear,
Distrust,
Sin,
From lies
We’ve been told
About who we are,
Who we can be,
Whose we are,
How to be.

Rest and be restored.

Healing and wholeness,
Forgiveness,
Compassion
Flowing from the hands
Of a Savior
Saying any second waiting
Is a second
Too long!
For the renewal of
Of a person’s body,
Soul,
And life.
For the chance for them to sing the song
Only they can sing.

Rest and be restored.

“Behold!
He is making all things new!
Gentile and Jew.
Me and you!”
The kingdom is coming,
Holy Spirit’s a-humming,
Feet tapping, strings strumming,
But we can’t hear it
Over the noise
Of our own needs and desires –
“Work harder so I can acquire –
Be right so I can succeed.”

Rest and be restored.

A day –
Nay!
A time given
To worship the Lord,
That God may be ev’rywhere adored,
Time not just for us,
But ev’ry man, woman, and child,
The weak, hopeless,
meek, mild,
The powerful, strong –
Even those we think wrong.
It’s time to turn
And start again.

Rest and be restored.

Salve –
Salvation,
Streaming from the One
Who poured out
His verve
So we might observe and embrace,
Life’s holiness:
To confess and forgive,
Love and be loved,
Laugh and to weep,
Serve and be served,
Be freed,
And
To free.

Rest and be restored.

A ceaseless call.
Consider what God does
For one and all.
Consider and cease!
What you do
Enjoy and find peace,
Rediscover,
Uncover,
Pull back the curtain
On imagination
Implanted in us at creation.
Help others grasp it,
A chance to breathe,
Sigh,
Be fully alive!
Not just one day,
But every day.

Rest and be restored.

To perceive and practice,
What we receive in rest,
Treasure collected in
Clay crocks.
In cracked pots,
Shaped like me and you.
That hope,
Unachievable,
But attainable.
That gift costly,
But free.

Rest and be restored.

The Sabbath was made for you,
Not you for the Sabbath.

Amen.

© 2018. Annabelle Peake Markey. All rights reserved.

The more I know of You,
The more I realize how much I fall short.
And the more I know of Your justice,
The more I realize my guilt before You.

But the more I know of You,
The more You teach me of Your love.
And the more I am aware of Your mercy,
The more I know of Your steadfast faithfulness.

Yes, the more I know of You,
The more I know how bountiful Your grace is.
And the more I rest in Your hands,
The more I long to rely solely on You.

© 2011. Annabelle Peake Markey. All rights reserved.

Song of a Modern Day Martha

Jesus Visits Mary and Martha

“Come, sit with me a while.”
“No, I have to call this company to straighten things out.”
“Come, sit with me a while.”
“No, I have to finish the laundry and clean the house.”
“Come, sit with me a while.”
“No, I have to plan the rest of my day.”
“Come, sit with me a while.”

“Come, sit with me a while.”
“Lord, why did that phone call frustrate me so much?”
“Come, sit with me a while.”
“Lord, why didn’t I get the laundry and cleaning done?”
“Come, sit with me a while.”
“Lord, I feel like I have so much to do!”
“Come, sit with me a while.”

Worn and tired at the end of the day, carrying so much frustration, stress, and crankiness, I wondered what on earth had happened to put me in such a state. Then I realized. God had been calling gently and persistently to me all day – “Come, sit with me a while.” And what did I do? Everything on my “to-do” list – well, at least, I tried to.

Reflecting on this in quiet prayer and contemplation, again I heard God speak: “Come, sit with me a while. I’m glad you’re here.” Once I sat down, read some Scripture and entered into conversation with God, I felt so much better. I was able to examine what had happened during the day and I slowly realized that I had been ignoring God.

If I had just taken the time to pray and read like I wanted to – like God was inviting me to – I would have been refreshed and recharged. My priorities would have looked much different and I probably wouldn’t have gotten so bent out of shape about a frustrating phone call or unfinished tasks.

In silence, listening for God, I heard once again, “let go and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). “Stop worrying so much about relatively trivial things and rest in my arms.” All day long, God had been trying to get my attention – to care for me so I could go out renewed and strengthened, but I resisted, wishing instead to go my own way. Boy, am I a slow learner! In silence, I realized that I knew God was calling – I recognized God’s voice (John 10:1-10 – see below) and still I ignored it.

Now, it would be really easy to beat ourselves up once we realize what we’ve been doing and how we’ve been neglecting to spend time with God. However, God does not want us to do that. Instead, God extends to us unfathomable grace, that grace which gently and persistently seeks us out and enfolds us in the overwhelming depth of God’s love, forgiveness, faithfulness and mercy. That remarkable and beautiful grace is a gift, given freely and generously to all through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We need only to stop for a moment, to pause ever so slightly, and spend some time listening for and to what God has to say to us. Rest in that grace and know that you are loved.

© 2011. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

John 10:1-10
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Hosanna, Hosanna!

I am absolutely in love with “Hosanna” by the Soweto Gospel Choir!

Here are the lyrics:

Let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich”
Let the blind say, “I can see”
what the Lord has done in me (Repeat 3x)

Hosanna, hosanna
To the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna
Jesus died and rose again
Hosanna, hosanna
To the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna

Jesus died and rose again (Repeat 5x)

It’s simplicity, sweeping dynamics and incredible harmonies really convey the beautiful message of the Gospel.  In the midst of a stressful and hectic semester, I’ve found rest and calm in the lyrics and tune of this song.  In times of stress or great pressure, what brings you peace?

This song reminds me that God is already at work in the world, changing the lives of people by bringing hope and peace through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Lord is busy at work in people, making the weak strong, the poor rich and the blind able to see what God is doing.  Lest we think, “oh, that doesn’t include me,” let’s not forget that the words “weak,” “poor” and “blind” can also pertain to our faith lives.  After all, how many times do we struggle with doubts or trusting God, or forget to make time with the One who created and cares for us?  How often do we miss what God through the Holy Spirit is up to because we’re looking at the world not through God’s eyes or the eyes of faith, but with human ones?

This song is a reminder that God is already transforming us and that the kingdom of God has already been initiated.  And for that, we can say “Hosanna, Hosanna!”

Let us pray…Gracious Lord, we give thanks for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ and for your beautiful work in the world.  Strengthen us by your Spirit to be a part of this work and move in our hearts that we might be filled with love for you and our neighbors.   May we at all times and all places give glory and praise to you, shouting and singing “Hosanna” with all of creation.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

© 2010. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

A Most Beautiful Sight

A poem I wrote on the Metro one day in May…

I have wondered at the peaks of Alps,
Viewed from the sky high above.
I have marveled at breath-taking cathedrals,
Built from blocks of stone and love.

I have stood before the mysterious Sphinx,
Staring back into his regal eyes.
I have hiked at night the Black Forest,
Darker than the darkest of all the dyes.

These wonders that I’ve seen,
I count as blessings from on high,
but I ponder what I’ll see,
In the moment after I die.

When I encounter the One
I’ve longed for, face-to-face,
What “on earth” will I do
Consumed by overwhelming grace?

Will I kneel as a servant of a liege
As in days of yore?
Or will I run to meet Him,
Unable to fight the allure?

Or will I cast down my eyes,
Unable to meet His gaze,
Thinking of all those many times,
I failed to follow in His ways?

Or instead, will I rest
In His loving embrace,
Knowing that I have indeed
Finished the greatest race?

Do I dare reach out and touch
The scars upon His hands,
Feeling at once that which freed me
From these iron bands?

Do I speak or stand in awe,
At last without remark?
Or do I burst forth in all my joy,
Singing like a lark?

The answer is, “I do not know”
Nor shall I e’er while I’m here,
Instead, I shall await a glimpse,
Of Him, where in this life He should appear.

In the face of the man begging,
Too poor to buy something to eat.
In the weary face of a woman on the Metro,
Who waits to sit and rest her feet.

In the laughter and smile of a child,
There does His joy shine through.
Among the poor, the weak, the broken-hearted –
They are His unlikely crew.

Yes, it is not only in the Kingdom to come
That we can glance upon our King.
It is also in the everyday,
Every mundane and earthy thing.

Though I await eagerly that day,
When my precious Savior I behold,
It is my most fervent prayer,
That I may serve, be I young or old.

That I might look for Christ in those,
I encounter along my way,
Seeking to act well my part
In this divinely-appointed play.

© 2009. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

Sun Streaming Through St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Sun Streaming Through St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

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