Letter from St Mark's House

St Mark's House

August/September 2017

 

Dear friends

The holidays are here again! For the next month we will miss the cheerful chatter of the children in the playground next to us. But of course, holidays are not just for the children! ‘Take it easy’ sang The Eagles, with simple words but suspect motives. The same idea is encouraged by the ‘father of chronobiology’, Prof Franz Halberg, who tells us in more complex words but with convincing reasons, why we should take it easy: we operate by daily ‘circadian’ rhythms and weekly ‘circaseptan’ rhythms. The former tell us when to take a brief time-out, as noted in ‘Winston Churchill’s Afternoon Nap – a Wide-Awake Inquiry into the Human Nature of Time’. The latter incensed the French and Russian revolutionaries with its religious roots: ‘remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.’ (Exodus 20.8-10) Their attempts to replace the seven-day week with a secular system were doomed to failure because our lives move to the rhythm our creator intended. 

The Sabbath day of rest was not simply ‘a day off’ but a day set apart as a ‘holy’ day: holydays are God’s idea. What made the day holy was setting aside a day of rest to remember all that God had done. If we don't take the time to remember, we're in danger of forgetting. Our non-stop life-style doesn’t allow time and even our ‘vacations’ are crammed with activities that leave us in need of a holiday! In the press and stress of the crowds that surrounded him, Jesus would go off alone to a quiet place to spend time in prayer. Sometimes he took his disciples with him: ‘“Come apart, all of you, to a quiet place, and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going, so that they had no time even for meals.’ (Mark 6.31) In the press and stress of daily life it is good to come apart by ourselves before we come apart at the seams!  These are times for regaining one's perspective, reordering priorities, recharging our batteries, renewing spiritual life. 

We’ve just been going through our diaries to recall and record in a ‘One Line A Day’ book, ‘events most worthy of remembrance’. Why not take a few moments every day, if possible, to rest and remember all that God has done for you, all that he means to you, and write down some of his special blessings throughout the year? Join with us in reflecting on what life is all about before it completely passes us by.

Happy holydays!

Nick and Harriet