Theology of Rest
For some time now Soul Action has been gathering people, projects and churches in Soul Action’s Network for what has become known as ‘theological conversations’. We recently felt God calling us to explore rest.
What’s developed into something of a ‘theological stream’ first emerged after the Integral Mission Consultation we hosted in June last year, where one speaker first challenged us about Missio Dei, God’s mission, how it’s His – not ours – and that our role is to work out what He’s up to and to join in!
…is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, but that God has a church for his mission in the world. Wright, The Mission of God.
We’ve responded by providing a specific kind of space where people are free to explore how their thinking about God informs what they do and how what they do informs their thinking about God – theology! When we met in March 2012, the theme ‘rest’ emerged out of a time of contemplative prayer, which is why in Nov we gathered to explore a theology of rest with the help of Revd. Ian Booth.
To start things off Rachel Bowyer, Soul Action co-founder, asked everyone to identify some of the things they spend time on & to share which of these energise or refresh. Ian asked whether we rest because we understand it’s how God’s designed us, or because He says so, and, like a child who goes to bed because Mom says so, we resent that we’re forced to rest. He shared how he liked to see each day as 3 blocks i) morning ii) afternoon & iii) evening, and how he tries to work 2 and keep the third for rest – leisure, OR exercise! Yes, exercise counts as rest – especially if it refreshes, renews, or connects us to God.
Ian shared lots of personal & practical tips, including the need to ‘plan the walks’ – something the Comrades taught him! Our natural tendency is to keep going until we have to stop, but then it’s often harder to get going again. Rather ‘plan the walks’: run 10km, walk for 2mins – now there’s a good metaphor for life! Steven Covey writes about 2 men cutting trees, whilst one chops all day, the other takes regular breaks to ‘Sharpen the Axe.’ Guess who felled more trees!!
After group discussion and contemplative prayer, Renske Fitzjohn, Soul Action’s Training Coordinator, invited people to share what they felt God had been saying.