I went upstairs after breakfast to brush my teeth and get ready for the day. I wasn’t going anywhere, and wouldn’t be close enough to anyone for them to smell my breath. However, my family still appreciates the fresh breath, and the dentist will undoubtedly confirm the wisdom of continued regular flossing and brushing.
As I reached into the drawer, I discovered not one, but three flattened tubes of toothpaste. I grabbed the one that looked the most unlikely to fight back with any resistance and began attempting to squeeze out whatever was left. My initial attempt failed, so I started my second attempt from the bottom, the tried and true roll-up method of squeezing an empty tube of toothpaste. Just enough toothpaste made its way onto my toothbrush, and I could begin my day.
For a lot of us, that tube of toothpaste is a good metaphor for life. We squeezed out the last bit of energy we had over these last couple of weeks. We’re tired, worn out by e-learning, Zoom meetings, and uneasy trips to the store for groceries. For others, you have the added stress of working in an essential role, keeping the rest of us healthy, fed, and able to keep a semblance to functional society in these strange times.
We weren’t meant to live like this. We weren’t created to live in a state of emotional and spiritual emptiness, squeezing out whatever we’ve got left and hoping that we will somehow make it. God intended so much more.
In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This phrase “to the full” is also translated abundantly. But the word has another nuance, and that’s the idea of overflow. Jesus doesn’t merely want to give us life, but a life that overflows. We get that life from him and from allowing his grace, peace, and love to pour into our hearts.
Technology is a good thing until it’s too much, and I think that’s where a lot of us find ourselves. We need space and rest away from it. When we attach reflection on God’s goodness into that restful space, it becomes holy, a place where God meets us and replenishes our tired, worn-out souls. The scriptures refer to these holy moments as Sabbath.
To support the need for rest, we’re going to take a break from online worship this weekend and invite you to unplug and find safe ways to relax and recharge over the holiday.
I’m personally so thankful for this rest, as my family has produced online worship from our basement for two straight months. While this is my responsibility and job as the pastor, the added stress on our family is evident when combined with the emotions we’re all feeling in this season of uncertainty. Finding an empty tube of toothpaste as a metaphor for exhaustion confirmed the need for rest.
In these moments, let’s turn to God for holy rest, Sabbath, to allow Jesus the space to give us the overflow in our hearts that leads us out into the world to love God, love others, and bring life to our community.