The Call to Rest | Reflection by Perkins Fellow Michelle Abban '20

Rest? How and why do we Sabbath? All of us Perkins Fellows recently gathered to read and discuss the Introduction and first two chapters of The Justice Calling. In a book about justice, I was expecting a hard-hitting manual on building and creating programs, on saving the world. The beginning chapters of the book instead mostly spoke of maintaining the Sabbath. You can imagine my surprise: how are we are supposed to be fighting for justice? First, we rest; God commands us to rest. 

As we sat in a circle taking a break from our usual week routine to simply sit and share, we focused on needing to rest in the Lord for all the things still up in the air. I honesty thought the Sabbath was meant for a different era, that it was not possible or even necessary in this day. How in our modern view of go, go, go can we intentionally take time to rest, to fully obey the Sabbath? Shouldn’t we do something more productive with our time? These were the questions that filled my mind because they are how we fill our culture. As Perkins Fellows, we are trying to use our gifts, to share the love of God across borders. We are trying to understand what God’s plan is for us. How can God’s plan include daily and weekly rest? 

For me, resting is hard. I want to do any and everything, to fill my schedule to the brim, to look at my calendar and say my life is full because my schedule is full. But, then it hits: the tiredness, the hopelessness and disappointment in my own failure when I realize that I cannot do it all alone. I cannot succeed in anything without God, anything. The accomplishments that I hold dearly do not mean anything if I do not know the source who gave them. I had never seen my lack of taking a Sabbath as failing to trust God and what He can do.

As I take on the rest of this semester, my community partnership with Abundant Life through the Perkins Fellowship, I need to lean on God’s strength and not my own. He brings forth completion to the fullest. Justice, community and true reconciliation of any sort does not come from me or any of us but from our Father who calls us to rest in him. 

“Failure to rest reveals that we are relying on our own work and reflects a lack of trust in God’s provision and grace” (51) The Justice Calling