I spoke a few Saturdays ago to a Ladies' Fellowship about Rest for Weary Mamas.
I found the topic intensely personal, as the last several months had been so busy that I was not sure I really knew what the word rest even meant anymore. My nights were short and naps had become a distant memory. I was the ultimate weary mama.
I was so busy I was afraid I would not have time to adequately study this topic of rest. And when I say that I was busy, I don't mean I was busy as in, "I really should write a blog--it's been two months" busy. But more like, "My husband is gone for the week to Mindanao on a ministry trip and I have two two-year-olds who thrive on getting into everything and if I skip homeschooling this week my first grader will have to skip summer this year and my laundry is piled to four foot five and I really, really need to go grocery shopping or we will have to turn to foraging."
And beyond the extracurricular writing and the mundane necessities of life lay a whole list of things I really should have been doing: potty-training my two-year-old twins, for instance. Writing music for an upcoming flute group piece. Talking through our goals for the year with my husband and putting them in writing so that we can move forward on accomplishing them. Finishing the English translation of a Tagalog song I had been working on for months. Preparing for my Saturday talk, especially.
All of those things were important. Many were urgent. But the thing that put me over the edge that week was the fundraising concert our Bible college held the week before my talk. The first half of the concert was a compilation of music written and performed by BJMBC faculty, students, and their church choirs. One of the goals of our Music Director, Doug Bachorik, is to mentor Filipinos in producing quality Filipino music for churches. It was a joy to hear some of that music at the concert.
I was remotely involved in the first half of the concert as a flute player for a lovely piece that my friend Asenath Cadavos wrote and sang. (It just so happens that my husband was teaching a group of pastors at her church in Mindanao the same week we were preparing for the concert here in Manila. God's small details in life are like the stitches on a piece of vintage French lace: intricate, intertwined, and beautiful.)
Although my part in the concert was small, it still required attending some practices and the rehearsal. Which meant that my family was fractured that Friday. Two of my children attended the rehearsal with me at the Meralco Theater, my husband flew in from Mindanao and took a taxi directly there to meet us, a friend drove our other two children and guests there, and another friend babysat my twins at home.
Me. . . I just prayed really hard that everybody ended up at the right time in the right place. Which amazingly, by the grace of God, they did.
And the concert was a resounding success.
The second half of the concert (which I thankfully was able to sit through as a member of the audience) was the Asian premiere of Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living.
This piece shatters all preconceptions about what music with deep religious overtones and Latin texts might sound like. It is powerful, gripping, and transparently honest. Dark but far from bleak. An explosion of joy and reverence.
If you have not heard it yet, stop reading this post right now and go here for an unspeakably riveting experience.
Ideally you should listen to it with a translation in front of you so you can understand what is being sung. Because there is no English in the entire piece. The whole thing is in Latin. . . almost.
Now, my life is like that French lace, and one other detail that God sometimes stuns me with is the fact that during the one (and only) year of my high school teaching career, one of the classes I taught was Latin. To Koreans. In English. (I was qualified for that because I actually studied Latin for about one year, as an audit, while I was swamped with work and graduate classes. Scary.)
But still. . .
My Latin is rusty at best. I was thankful for the translation in the program booklet.
I hope you stopped reading and listened to the entire piece. If you did, you probably noticed that in the last movement, Lux Aeterna, the sole line of English was this: "Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
I assume that this is the composer's way of turning an incandescent English spotlight on that ocean of roiling Latin and illuminating the one great, irrevocable rock of rest for our lives: Christ Jesus.
If you have Christ, you have rest for your soul.
Eternal rest. Requiem eaternam.
That is the kind of rest that matters the most.
Our house guests that week were dear friends of ours from Singapore. I was writhing under the knowledge that they were going to sit patiently through a concert that literally had no English in it. I don't regret that fact for their sake anymore. The music was incredible, and since the English was in the program, I am sure they were as blessed as I was. But that gem of English at the end would have been worth it all anyway.
As for me, God spoke to me through His Word set to music. He reminded me that I can go ahead and weary myself with all the every day busy-ness of this life, all of the chaotic Vanitas Vanitatum, because He Himself provides my rest at the end of it all.
There remaineth yet a rest.
I may be short on rest physically.
But spiritually? Aaaah. Now that's a different story, because I have a light and easy yoke on my shoulders, and my Yokefellow bears the brunt and the bruises of all of my burdens. He shares the load. And He is meek and lowly of heart: instead of cracking the whip over me, He is the One who gives me rest.
Both now and forever.
I rode to the ladies' fellowship with my friend, Doctora Ina Bunyi, who was also speaking that day. On the way, we discussed the busy week we both had. I discovered that my lack of sleep the night before was far eclipsed by her lack of sleep the night before. She taught on rest that day with a little over two hours of sleep logged the night before. Some people might find that ironic. We did not. We found it amazing. God-honoring. Self-emptying. Because the kind of rest we spoke of and needed was not physical rest--although that is also important--but the spiritual rest Christ offers to all who come to Him. And God knew we needed to live this truth before we could speak to others about it.
Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Eternal rest through His salvation.
Daily rest through His Word.
Have you come to Him yet?
Has He given you rest for your soul?
Is He giving your daily rest through His Word?
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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