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Renew, recreate, revive

By Nathan Decker

One of my favorite philosophers, Garfield the Cat, once said, “There are only two days in a week. “Monday, and all the rest.” But the weekends are different. Bill Cosby used to do this monologue about partying on the weekend. He would describe folks announcing to the world their intentions. “I’ve worked hard, I’m going out, and I’m getting drunk!” And so we do.

Science has told us there are only four types of drunks. There are Hemingways, those brooding types who begin sleepily sharing their misery. Tragic. Word by word. They talk almost like Captain Kirk as they ponder life’s dullness. Others are Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way they weren’t before they began drinking. We like them better at the bar than anywhere else we see them. Of course they can go too far and become the Nutty Professor who giggles and laughs at everything. We pray they don’t become Mr. Hyde. Mean and destructive are his ways.

In the end we all end up hugging the toilet. “Thank you Mr. Toilet. You are so kind, Mr. Toilet. No one understands me like you. Thank you for being cool and accepting my donations. Mr. Toilet, you are my best friend.”

And on Monday morning we return to work like Kramer on Seinfield as if we have just come off of some rowdy rollercoaster ride. “Wow, I survived that one. Thank God, I’m here. Boss, I need this job. I’m no good on my own.”

And we do this because we don’t know how to relax, recoup, rest. My wife picks on me a lot about this. I don’t know how to sit still. I create projects on my days off. I go on vacation so I can help my ma and pa do remodeling of their home. And if we do go on vacation, I’m always go! Go! Go! As if my schedule was the bulls running at Pamplona.

I need to learn to take a break. We need to learn to take a break. God says take a break. God worked hard for six days: light, land, love, and all things legendary. But on the seventh day, he created something altogether different. God rested.

We are created in the image of God. When we are at our best, we are creating. We create families in our homes. We create community in our neighborhoods. We create in church in worship and ministry. We create in our jobs all sorts of things: relationships, products, and services. But God is not just the Creator. God is also the Re-Creator.

I love words. We have so many funny words that when you put them together can mean so many things. I have a book on my shelf called “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.” It is about a panda walking into a bank. The question is did the panda rob the bank or eat a snack. A lot depends on punctuation. Re-creation and recreation mean the same thing.

When we take a break, we are participating in Divine behavior. We renew. We recreate. We revive. Renew. I think one of the reasons we like video games is the practice of do-overs. We like second chances even if we don’t like giving them out. We like to be able to start over. Renew literally means to make things new again. Recreate. As a dad, one of my favorite things to do is repair. When my wife or kids bring me something that is broken which I can fix, I am in my zone. Revive. Someone once said, “you know the minute you are born, you start dying.” The real tragedy is that a lot of folks are breathing who never started living. Revive means to bring life into something that was not fully alive.

God gave us the Sabbath as a gift to give us life. Jesus dealt with lots of folks who had turned Saturdays and Sundays into regulations, rules and the work of trying to obey. Jesus taught us that going off somewhere to pray gives us a pause button. The Spirit leads us to places by the blue water or mountain views so fresh air can give us space to breathe. You may find yourself run ragged in the rat race. Rest. Renew. Recreate. Revive. Garfield was right. There really are only two days in the week. Days we work, and the day we rest. Amen.

NATHAN DECKER is the pastor of High Street United Methodist Church. Contact him at 562-3367.