July 2024 Newsletter

From Parish Worker Pam Twedt

Come away and rest awhile!  That sounds like an offer that would be hard to refuse.  This was the seasonal theme a number of years ago at the AFLC’s Association Retreat Center (ARC).  Our family attended family camp at the ARC for many summers when our kids were younger.  This theme must have really resonated with me since it is the only one I can remember!  Many of the years we attended were during a time when it was physically exhausting to care for our kids.  It was such a blessing to have a week where I didn’t have to cook or do other household chores, where there was Christ centered programming for all of us, and where we could have fun family time.

I believe most or all of us desire to have some period of rest during the summer.  Summer often lends itself to a different schedule or rhythm of life.  For you it may be a more relaxed pace.  For someone else it may be an even busier season when the kids are home from school, or your job is of a seasonal nature that is busier in July than in January.  Whatever the case may be, I think we all hope for some sort of special time of rest and relaxation in this often short season.  I’m quite sure that the ARC got their theme that year from Matthew 6:31 where Jesus invites his disciples to come away and rest.  There had been an intense time of ministry and they needed some time to rejuvenate.  This kind of physical rest is needed, good, and taught in the Bible in a variety of places, but there is a second kind of rest where the benefits last beyond this life.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30.  In this passage, Jesus is talking about spiritual rest. He loves us so much that he desires to give us rest from the burden of sin through his bodily death and resurrection. He wants to relieve us from the never-ending work of trying to please God by our good works and our own strength because he knows it is an impossible task.  He invites us to allow the Holy Spirit to do his work, come to him in repentance and faith and receive true and eternal rest.

This topic of rest as it relates to the 3rd Commandment (Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.) was made clearer to me by listening to a podcast called “Being Lutheran”.  Probably because of my age, podcasts are not part of my regular routine, but I am very much enjoying listening to this one.  It is produced by some of our AFLC pastors, and it covers a lot of topics including the Commandments and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church.  Pastors Brett Boe and Jason Gudim do a good job in episodes 18-20 of explaining how this idea of Sabbath rest is not a work that we do, but something that is completed by Christ.

Whatever this summer looks like for you, I hope that you get to experience both some physical rest from the cares and routines of everyday life, and more importantly, the lasting spiritual rest that is only available through faith in Christ.

View the July 2024 Newsletter here.