Restful Movement

Do you remember a time when you were caught in a drizzle, and then the downpour came? As you ran to shelter, the raindrops stung your face. The wind surged against your chest. Your stride became heavier and more burdensome as your shoes collected water from the puddles underneath you.

Then, you stopped. Your shelter was nearby, but you stopped moving.

Even though the rain continued to fall just as heavily, the water no longer stung your face. The wind still gusted forcefully, but you now felt no pressure against your chest. And the fabric and strings of your shoes soaked up as much water as they could hold, and yet you became unaware of the added weight.

Then, you began to marvel at the rain, how, for instance, it rushed to ground with great intention. You took note of the wind, that it weaved through the falling water, creating waves in the downpour. And without the noise of your footsteps, you now noticed the faint rumble of thunder from a distance. You simply stopped.

Our relationship with God can seem daunting and burdensome to the point that we become anxious and overwhelmed. Yet Jesus says that following him is restful–that his way poses a light burden (Matthew 11: 28-30). If we take Jesus’ words seriously, maybe we perceive life with God to be a heavy burden because of our movement, specifically the nature and frequency of it. We’re always distracted. We move frenetically, thinking we need to perform for God to earn a spot next to God. Or, we flee from God, because we’re fearful–that we’re too flawed, too confused, too smart, too contaminated. All this movement creates dissonance, a lack of harmony, and this dissonance is heavy. But every now and again, we have this curious compulsion to stop.

The point is that we’re destined to move in harmony with God, and this harmony happens when we arrest our movement and sit at Jesus’ feet and let him speak to us, as Mary does in Luke 10.  There, we discover who God is, the God who moves towards us. We discover who we’re intended to be in relation to God. And we discover who we’re supposed to be in relation to each other. Then, we rest. Then, we move. And the burden is light.

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