One of the pastors I knew while growing up would often say the same thing each summer after return-ing from a week or two of vacation. He would tell the church that he had enjoyed a nice time of “re-creation.” In one way, it’s just a silly pun, a clever way to justify spending some fun time with family and away from work. Vacation, he was saying, wasn’t just recreational fun, it was something redemptive and meaningful, a time of being created anew through days of rest and leisure.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate that notion of re-creation and might even appropriate it for my own time away from church responsibilities this summer. My family has already been to Kansas to visit my parents, and in July we will travel to Ohio to see Laura’s family and then spend a few days in Door County. It will be nice to be away and experience some re-creation.
I hope you can experience the same. Re-creation doesn’t have to include travel or time away from work. In fact, it should be a normal part of our daily and weekly routines, not just something we schedule dur-ing the summer. From devotional Bible reading and daily prayer to setting aside a Sabbath rest each week, we should routinely invite God to restore and renew us. Re-creation can happen even as we enjoy time with family or breath in God’s goodness while walking outside or gazing up at the stars.
It doesn’t matter where or when, it just matters that you are intentional to invite God’s grace and healing touch to refresh your soul. We all need those times of re-creation, and we need them more often than once a year.
The truth is, we humans get tired. God never slumbers or sleeps. He doesn’t need rest or time away from His weighty responsibilities. But we are not like God in that way. In fact, I think God created us to need rest so we would have to set aside out work and turn off our busy brains at the end of each day, and so we would yearn for a day each week to be still and quiet in His presence. Sleep is a gift from God (Psalm 127:2), as is Sabbath rest (Mark 2:27).
The Bible doesn’t tell us that Jesus took vacations, but He certainly found time away from the demands of ministry to rest and be alone with God. He would rise early to pray. He often went off to quiet places by Himself or with just a couple close friends. He traveled with His disciples along peaceful paths between villages. He liked to sail across the Sea of Galilee, at least in part because it afforded Him some downtime, moments of rest before the crowds of needy people would swarm around Him again.
So, I hope you will take some time for re-creation this summer, and maybe you can develop new habits of seeking renewal with God that you will be able to practice all year round. You might enjoy a prayer-filled walk through a local park or a cup of coffee while you read scripture. You might find refreshment on the golf course with good friends or over dinner with your family. God may bring healing to your soul as you hike in the mountains or listen to the surf along a beautiful beach.
I hope you also feel spiritually recharged through times of worship and fellowship at church. Gathering with our church family to praise and serve our Lord should bring blessing into your life, and the church building can be a place of retreat throughout the week.
May God grant you times of rest so you will have the strength you need to serve Him.