by Amanda Watson
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
For the past two Sundays Heavenly Rest has “returned.” To return too often has the connotation of re-creating a past time or place. I was hesitant to use the word “return” because we do not “return” to re-create Heavenly Rest as it was or more appropriately as we think it was. But by returning we can rest not only within this building but, more importantly, within this community of grace, armed with the wonders that we have received during our time in isolation. Amazed at the importance of words in creating genuine relationships but, more importantly, at the importance of the wonders of communication that were always present but, lost in busy lives, we never learned to utilize. In quietness we could stop and hear God and be reminded that God is always there—where we are! In quietness we are reassured of God’s presence and in the trust of a God who saves. In our isolation there was a returning to rest in God—to be totally secure in the presence of our God who created all that is.
After speaking with a friend over the Father’s Day weekend, the phrase “in trust shall be your strength,” has a new meaning. As a small child she gave her father a small plaque with the words, “My Dad is always there.” He kept that beautiful gift on his nightstand next to his bed. She had no idea why a small child would want to give her father something that she probably did not even understand at the time, but as far as she was concerned, “It was perfect!” “My Dad was always there.” That small gift perfectly described her dad. Her trust in his constant presence truly was her strength.
And so, perhaps, returning is the perfect word to use as we re-assemble in this place, in this beautiful building, in this community, in this place of grace. This is not a re-creation of what was; it is a celebration; it is the validation of what we have experienced through this time of separateness, this time of re-acquainting, in new and wonderful ways, ourselves with each other and with God, a God that always stills the waters. It is celebration that God is always “there;” to trust in God is our strength.