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How to have a good summer holiday!

How to have a good summer holiday! Joyce Huggett writes - Relax! Laze on the beach! Curl up with a good book! Go sight-seeing or swimming, walking or whatever helps you to unwind. Holy days and holidays begin here. But be aware that you are not relaxing alone. Jesus is relaxing with you. He is the One who is inviting you to unwind, to let the pressures melt away, to rest: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Jesus first gave this invitation to his disciples when they had returned from a busy, successful mission. They may well have been both excited by the way God had used them and exhausted as they had given themselves to be used in his service. The pace of life most people live is exhausting. The disciples were tired too. Jesus knew this. It is as though he were saying, "You've experienced the elation of being used by me, now come apart and be with me. Rest with me and in me. Let me relax in you!" In other words, he was teaching them the necessity of living the kind of balanced life that he himself lived: of establishing the rhythm which we also observe in nature.

The sea ebbs and flows, the moon waxes and wanes, the sun rises and sets. Growth in nature is followed by a fallow period. Jesus, similarly, punctuated times of intense activity by times of solitude and stillness. He encourages us to learn the value of such rhythm: to remember that, because we are human beings and not human doings, activity must be tempered by periods of "just being". Resting.

As you rest, try to make sense of this unpunctuated sentence: Be aware that Jesus is with you wherever you are acknowledge his invitation come and rest respond to that invitation by recalling anything which threatens to prevent you from resting conscious that Jesus is with you hand these things over to him. Reflect for a few moments on the fact that life without pauses and stopping places can be as meaningless as a sentence without commas and full stops.

So …. A Holiday Project - Punctuate the words you have just puzzled over and then re-read them - now that commas cause you to pause and full stops bring you to a halt. Then read on, responding to what you are reading: Be aware that Jesus is with you wherever you are. Acknowledge his invitation: "Come. . . and rest." Respond to that invitation by recalling anything which threatens to prevent you from resting. Conscious that Jesus is with you, hand these things over to him. Do what Peter suggests: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

As much as you are able, leave all that threatens your peace of mind in those hands which created the universe. You might like to picture the Creator's hands, to imagine they are being stretched out to you. Place into them the situations and people you are concerned about. When you have done that, your hands will be empty. Stretch them out to God, asking him to fill them with good things this holiday. Today. Now. A Prayer Just as a sentence makes far more sense when it is well punctuated, so our life makes far more sense when we give ourselves times of stillness.

So for your prayer, simply become as still as you can. Then listen to Jesus' promise: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you." John 14:27 Have a really good summer break.

Philip Egglestone
Nairn Baptist Church