It Starts with Rest

I’ve been reflecting in this week’s posts about Mark Labberton’s The Dangerous Act of Worship, and I’d like to conclude with what I appreciate most.  Rather than guilt us into manic acts of mercy toward the hurting, Labberton keenly centers the connection between justice and worship in what’s perhaps a surprising place: rest.

A life that worships and does justice starts with rest.  Scripture’s call to seek justice surely involved action, considerable and costly.  But a life that does justice rises out of worship, which starts with rest, is sustained by rest and returns to rest.  ((Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 95.))

Colossians 1:17 reminds us that it is Christ, not us, who “holds everything together.” Living from a center of worship and rest enables us to engage action as whole people.  As our FYI faculty member and missionary among the urban poor Dr. Jude Tiersma Watson often reminds us, God created us for rhythms of both action and contemplation.  Sabbath is not just an option we can take or leave; it’s part of the way we were made (check out a great article by Jude on rhythms of ministry).  I’ll close with one more quote by Labberton on the matter:

Whatever our passion for justice, whatever our success or failure in seeking justice, we need to remember that even when we are most sure we are doing God’s business, we are not God.  Justice is God’s business.  We are simply invited to have a stake in what is God’s, and God’s alone, to bring about.  ((Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 99.))