About two years ago our church began offering a dual service during the most populated gathering time by making a worship center out of what used to be, basically, a gymnasium.
They lined the walls with curtains, set up a stage for all the live worship and greeting and installed three screens where they do a video feed of the sermon as it is being preached in the more traditional sanctuary.
As veterans of FCC, we were asked to flex to the new surroundings and were actually surprised how quickly we adapted to the setup.
But I confess, I still miss pews. Not just for the comfort, but there is something about sharing a long bench with your family and other people that is just nice and familiar and pleasant to me.
I wondered how young families would manage because back in the day, we had little Reimer’s pressed all around us and sometimes on us and if they were particularly tired, they might even just stretch out a bit.
A few Sundays ago, one of the young dad’s scooped up his unhappy infant and disappeared for a while but eventually returned with her cradled in his arms.
I had a great view of her limp noodle self sprawled out in the crook of her dad’s elbow for the remainder of the service.
Her pacifier was barely holding on as she took long, contented breaths. One of her arms was hooked back behind her dad, holding tightly to his shirt and the other was flayed out in a way that almost made my arm cramp in empathy.
And speaking of empathy, as the service continued on, I noticed this tall dad rocking gently to readjust his back in the lightly padded stackable chairs we use.
He would try to lift up a bit and scoot to a different position but always with his eyes riveted on her little face. Any flicker of interruption to her slumber and he would begin to do one of those slight rhythmic bounces until she was settled again.
I know his back had to be screaming and most likely his arms fell asleep but he maintained the position to the last amen.
How like our heavenly Father.
Oh, He doesn’t get arm cramps…and His back never hurts….but as surely as this sweet daddy tenderly held his little one, your Father is holding you.
You may not realize it.
He may seem distant or disinterested.
But He is anything but those things.
He calls us His children.
He urges us to come to Him and find rest for our souls.
We live in troubled times and there is much to stir us up.
Listen to what God said about rest:
Hebrews 4:9 and 10 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11: 28-29 (Jesus said) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The world will wear you out and wear you down, dear one.
So many voices are telling us what is right and what is wrong.
But God offers us true rest though obedience to His ways and trusting in His heart.
Cease from your toiling and your striving. Come to the Father, and find rest.
Take time to lean back into His arms and allow Him to hold you.
Receive today the gift of His rest as His beloved child .