The Respite of Year 7

Learning from this year of rest

In today’s world, it’s easy for us to focus on the next thing on our checklist. Quarantine has given us the time we need to slow down, prune our lives, and act with more intention. Yet, it’s important to remember that in the blink of an eye we can begin acting without thinking.

Often times, with the hecticness of life, we move from one social interaction to another, from one project to the next, and from year to year. 2020 has been the reset that so many of us needed. In the Bible, I was struck by the emphasis placed on rest – and years of rest. Given that humans were formerly organized in agricultural societies, they needed to allow the soil to rejuvenate its nutrients. In Leviticus 25, the LORD teaches Moses about The Sabbath Year:

The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.

Leviticus 25:1-7

In cities across the world, we have become accustomed to a fast-paced life where everything is open, accessible, and – often times – at our disposal. Even if you have not made any lifestyle changes this year, witnessing the shift from a consumer to a creator culture has been uplifting, inspiring, and hope-bringing for all of us.

With most of our workforce working years without end, often with less than a month off per year, it’s no wonder creativity and output seemed to plateau. This time off has allotted so many the much-needed rest that they require to perform at their very best. It’s something for us to think about as we refashion our communities, workplaces, and lifestyles… can we benefit from rest? Even God rested on the seventh day.

Being in college, then law school, for the last seven years makes me realize that I kind of needed a gap year. I actually had hoped to take a year to discover myself, to explore different interests, and to travel before going into law school. Admittedly, the way things worked out was tailored for me by God and I’m lucky to have had the time this year to spend reflecting, healing, and growing.

We’ve all seen friends work on personal development, and what better time than now? It seems that some of us need an existential crisis to get us going but we are building – physically, mentally, and spiritually – more than ever before! The Kingdom of God is growing in an unprecedented way and so many people who have been far from God are being born again!

As we enter the 2020 Christmas Season, may we all remember the reason that we are all here – and who is in control!

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