Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Respite Before Church

Country Church, Iceland, Polar Regions

A loud sermon played on the CD radio in my kitchen. I washed the dishes, swept the floor and polished the stove.  I listened to spiritually quickening nourishment, while I tidied the parlour. Then I heard the church bells ring. I knew it would be time to leave soon.

There is a short time between daily tasks and religious duties that are like a "respite" for the soul.  It is when we prepare for the unseen joy of seeking holiness.

Yet, if we left the house a mess, or did not prepare in advance to take care of our earthly work, oh how restless and distracted we would be during the church time!

We can slowly walk away from our work, knowing it was well done.   We take a worldly break and head to the sacred time of heavenly things.    Is this a foreshadowing of things to come?

Some preparation time is necessary. If we are having a quiet Bible time at home, we gather our Bible and books and papers. We settle ourselves in our usual place before we begin. This is part of the respite. This is all part of the expectation and the eagerness, during the break between earthly and heavenly matters.

If we are to attend church and must travel, the time we get ready, or walk or drive is the respite.   It is a time of contemplation, and a readiness, to rid of us worldly thoughts, so we can focus on better things.

I wonder if those few moments before mortal death, the saints feel a blissful peace as they enter their long-awaited home in the heavenly realm?

Mrs. White

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Bethany said...

I read this post somewhat longingly because peaceful Sunday mornings seem to elude me. I have three little ones and getting everyone ready for church and out the door on time is a harried, stressful ordeal every week. My husband leaves for church quite early (he's the pastor) so I have the children to manage myself. Do you have any advice to offer on this? Thanks for posting, I love coming here.