St Mary’s Church Coddenham

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From the Rectory – Hallowed Rest

by | May 9, 2024 | Coddenham Church

Sunset over St Mary Church Coddenham

The day thou gavest Lord is ended; the darkness falls at thy behest; to thee our morning hymns ascended, thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

Today the sun has shone, adding real warmth to the air.  Now, as the day draws to a close, a thin layer of cloud draws its veil over the fading blue of the sky.  The trees are still, the birds quieted, even the motor traffic has faded into the background.  It has been a busy day, but now the stillness is restful.  Preparing this on Sunday, I can honestly say my morning hymns ascended to God, but what about the evening and the rest of the week?

Thy praise shall sanctify our rest. Do we think of rest as needing sanctification: Holy; God given; as valuable to God as our activity?  With so much to do, where does rest fit in?  God decreed a weekly sabbath rest, a decree honoured more in the breech today.  He also bequeathed us other cycles; from the daily cycle of the opening stanza, though the four seasons, into cycles of literally astronomical proportions.  God values rest, do we?

The moment Jesus ‘gave up the Ghost’ (Luke 23:46) on Good Friday the gospels fall silent until his resurrection roughly 36 hours later.  Our Creeds tell us he descended to hell, or the place of the dead, to free imprisoned souls, but we don’t know this; the Gospels don’t tell us. On this the Gospels are silent.  Is that because Jesus was silent also?  Between Death and Resurrection lies a Sabbath, and a Sabbath rest.

As o’er each Continent and Island the dawn leads on another day, the voice of prayer is never silent nor dies the strain of praise away.

Even as we come to our rest, others are waking, the cycle of life rolls on.  For us, tomorrow is another day but somewhere in creation, tomorrow is already happening.  From the beginning, God created us to live in partnership with others.  The world does not stop when I do; when I stop space is created for my refreshing and for others to be.  While I rest others can pray and praise; and vice versa.

As the day that God gives draws to a close for each of us; let our praise make our rest holy; and in making it holy, may we learn to value rest and activity alike.

Rev’d Philip Payne                                     The Notice Sheet for 12 May 24 can be found here


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