Watching Rest — 24 April 2020 Devotional

Genesis 1:26–31; Exodus 23:27–30; Leviticus 26:34–35; 2 Chronicles 36:15–21 (read online ⧉)

We are all very much aware that humanity is not the sole living creature that God created. Many of us have had experiences in wilderness areas and national parks. Others grew up “on the land” where neighbors were a long way off, and wild animals would often be present or intrude.

Depending on where you live now, there are probably a few dogs that bark and birds that chirp. You might be one of those who live near wetlands (quite the common thing around here) and are serenaded by frogs at night. There is that occasional spider that draws a scream, or the annoying mosquito followed by many claps to kill it. We are surrounded by other creatures that we disregard, are oblivious to, or dismissive of.

Sometimes, just like the Promised Land, our lands need a rest from us. It has been very interesting to watch the wildlife spread out in the National Parks. San Francisco is having coyotes on the streets. In our area, these may not seem all that significant, as we are still somewhat close to open lands, however, even here the signs of God’s other creatures are making themselves known.

Most of us are separated from the land these days. Farmers will tell you to rotate the crops. Certainly, in areas on the east side of the Cascades, they will let a field go fallow for a year, every 7 years, just as the Scriptures say. The land needs rest, just as much as people.COVID-19 stay-at-home orders still aren’t that old (though it may feel like it). The wilds are quickly coming back. This means that much of the post-apocalyptic stories and movies have it wrong. It doesn’t take years for nature to come back. Nature moves back in very quickly. It also tells us how the busyness of our lives may not only be detrimental to ourselves, it might be detrimental to the rest of God’s Creation, too. The same Creation that we are responsible for.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, we see the way the Father’s Creation is responding to our absence. Help us to look at the lives we will be returning to post-COVID, and see how rest and rhythm can be reintroduced into our lives so that we are better able to share the hope and love of Jesus that he demonstrated through his life and his death. Amen.

Questions

1) Have you seen any change in the creatures around you? If not, have you even been paying attention to them?

2) Why might other creatures be a mirror to us in how we live our lives for others and for God?

3) What is one positive thing that you have learned about yourself (including any new practices) during the COVID-19 that you want to take with you to the other side of COVID-19? What will you do to make sure it happens?

Published by

Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.