Celebration Sunday-Freedom

‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’ Galatians 5:1

“There’s never enough time. Every night I go to bed with a to-do list longer than is possible for the next day. I balance time between family, friends, clubs, groups, work. I document it all online with profiles and feeds to make it seem like it’s all sorted out. But the truth is it’s not all sorted out at all. Time is what I want most, but what I use worse. If time really is money then I’m broke. I think a lot of us are.

I was at a coffee shop the other day and ran into a friend. I asked him how he was doing. He said “Busy. There’s a lot going on this week.” And he casually returned the question to me and I said the same “I’m pretty busy. Feels like too much is happening right now.”

I don’t know when it changed. I remember the typical response used to be “I’m fine”. Everything is fine, we’re all fine. We’re all busy trying to say that despite a down economy or a negative news cycle that at least our lives have a lot going on. The busy is somehow better than being fine. But busy often means I’m not fine at all. I think it wears on all of us after a while and creates this strange longing for some way to press pause on the busy, learn what it means to be present. Sometimes it takes grounding yourself, turning off your phone, shutting the laptop, getting away for a little while and finding peace and quiet. So I took an experiment to just stop and quit it all for just a moment to try and remember what it means to be instead of waiting to break the seemingly endless pattern of consumption, to spend less time reacting to what’s urgent and more time returning to what’s important.” 

(Extract from More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger)

This Celebration Sunday, we are inviting you to:

Make some time for an activity you love

How often, when someone asks how you are, have you responded using the word “busy”? How many times have you tried to catch up with a friend, but realised both of your schedules are “too busy” for you to find a time to meet?

For many of us, being busy is the new normal. We can get so caught up rushing from A to B, whether it be to work, family, church, voluntary or social commitments.

I know I can often be guilty of this. When my colleagues ask me if I have plans after work, very rarely do I not have an answer. And the occasional time I declare ‘nothing actually’ that’s met with shock and surprise. The truth is I have become accustomed to being busy. 

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that being busy largely characterises and shapes how I spend my time, so much so that I often don’t get to make time for some of the things I really enjoy. I can’t remember the last time I sat down to read a book (other than on my daily commute), or learnt a new song on my guitar, or caught up on that TV series I’ve been meaning to watch for months!

Galatians 5:1  reminds us that ‘it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.’ I wonder how many of us are held back from truly living out this freedom by being burdened by the yoke of being busy?

The practice of Sabbath is also a repeated idea throughout the bible. God calls God’s people to rest as a core part of their discipleship, in reflection of God’s choice to end a time of productivity and creativity with simply spending time ‘being’ in creation, as shown in the opening chapters of Genesis. God chooses to make existing within creation as foundational as productivity from the very start, and invites us to do the same.

This Sunday we want to invite you to celebrate and acknowledge the freedom that Christ has given you by making some time to engage in an activity you love. Is there a hobby or a past time that you enjoy, but haven’t engaged with recently. Maybe you’re a keen runner? Maybe you play an instrument or sing? Maybe you love to bake? Why not embrace your freedom this Sunday by using your free time to do something you love?

Only got a minute? Perhaps, this week, this note is a little ironic. If you’ve only got a minute, perhaps it is an indicator that you need to think carefully to take more time out!

Why not use this minute to reflect on how you use your free time and see where in your week you might be able to carve out some time to make sure you have some time to engage in things you love.