December 2022


Revd Rachael Warnock

It’s okay to take a break

We are approaching Advent, a time of active waiting and of preparation. This can certainly be a busy time but there is urgency to being present with God and preparing our hearts, through prayer, stillness and reflection. When we are present with God, we know his renewal and restoration.

Rest is important and necessary; it is something we should all be engaging with regularly, not just because we are tired but because God asks us to.

Our days can feel overwhelming with much to do, lots of information to process, our personal circumstances, as well as our friends and families, our church community’s, indeed the global community. We feel the struggles and challenges of our life.

Martha in Luke 10:38-42 offers the kind of generous hospitality Jesus asks of us. She was though over busy, distracted and worried about her preparations. I am sure many of us can relate to Martha as we travel towards Christmas.

We can be distracted today by so many things like time pressure, information –there is so much in the news and on social media, events too. It can be necessary that we attend to urgent things and good causes of course but are they really all so important to our lives in the long term? We can let the urgent take priority over that what’s really important.

Mary in contrast sits at Jesus’ feet and shows that what we do needs to be grounded in relationship with God. This means spending time with him.

The work of loving others as Jesus did and joining in with what God is doing, indeed our everyday lives must be fuelled by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. We can tap into this when we worship, pray and sit in the presence of God, if we are not doing so then we are running on empty and things are probably not going to end well.

It is so easy today to do so much or feel like we need to be, that we are constantly on the edge of burnout and bitterness.

I encourage us all during Advent, as best we can, to give time to focus on God, to be in his presence and know his renewal, rest and joy. Then I want us to keep on doing that. Jesus said “come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

God rested after he had finished his creation work. He set apart the seventh day as Sabbath and made it Holy. He stopped, looked, reflected and assessed, and we are to emulate. Let us stop and rest, give over our struggles, be attentive to God’s Spirit, reflect on God and ourselves, our priorities and gain some perspective.

We don’t have to choose between being active and reflective but we do need to choose a balance that makes us whole, freer from distraction and worries and focused in faith. I suspect most of us need to attend to this balance!

I pray God guides you in finding a balance between doing your work and life and simply being in his presence and being renewed by him too.

Try praying into David’s prayer- Renew in me a steadfast spirit, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Be renewed by the Spirit today.

I pray that as you sit in God’s presence, amidst the hustle and bustle of this time, you would come to know his joy, his faithfulness and hope amidst your everyday lives, your challenges and storms.

With Every Blessing

Rachael Warnock- Free Church Minister at Emmanuel Group of Churches