To Rest or Not to Rest

 Professor Steve Salyers “Doc” takes time to color at fall retreat in Iroquois Springs, New York || Photo Credit: Wesley Parnell

Professor Steve Salyers “Doc” takes time to color at fall retreat in Iroquois Springs, New York || Photo Credit: Wesley Parnell

 

The King’s College focused on Sabbath and relearning how to rest last weekend during the annual Fall Retreat in Iroquois Springs.

Throughout the weekend, students were reminded that the Sabbath is more than just rest from mundane responsibilities and unplugging from life. Sabbath is a way of life.

Director of Spiritual Life, May Overmyer summarized what she learned from the speakers at the retreat by saying, “Sabbath rest doesn’t necessarily mean making a 24-hour long interruption in our productivity... but rather...actively choosing to rest in God throughout the week.”

With an opening talk from Joey Willis, one of  The King’s College’s new Christian Formation Coordinators, Fall Retreat commenced.

Willis introduced the topic of Sabbath, highlighting the tendency that people often have to go through life systematically,  pursuing business and becoming so invested in being busy that, as he said, “we don’t realize that there is a better option.”

That option is Sabbath rest. Willis’ speech focused on the concepts of balance, peace, and transcendence, which were the promises to students willing to spend the weekend discovering the meaning of Sabbath and evaluating what they could sacrifice to create this space in their lives.

 Photo Credit || Wesley Parnell

Photo Credit || Wesley Parnell

Danise Stokeld, the Director of Academic Advising,  highlighted this sacrifice. In Stokeld's keynote speech she highlighted the fact that many people find purpose in their business. She asked students, “Do you want to be known as a rested individual?”

By taking time to pursue the Sabbath, students will risk missing out, not being the busiest person in the room, and possibly the judgement of others.

Stokeld used the Biblical story of Mary and how she sat at Jesus’ feet and rested in his presence  instead of worrying like her sister Martha to illustrate this. Stockeld pointed out that Mary sacrificed being understood by her sister and her community to sit and rest in Jesus Christ’s presence. Mary chose rest over productivity, she chose to make Jesus Christ her priority.

“She has made a choice to be misunderstood. She has made a choice to be judged.” Stokled said.

 

PHOTO CREDIT || BRENT BUTERBAUGH

 

For many students, rest is a sacrifice. It’s difficult to justify resting when there is a paper due Tuesday, a quiz Thursday, and a class project that needs to be turned in by next week.

When asked about the sacrifice rest requires, junior Holly Shavelle answered, “...I have to sacrifice not being as prepared as I absolutely can be for an assignment.”

“I’m a perfectionist,” Shavelle admitted, “ I want to be perfect at everything.” I could study an extra hour for a quiz, or spend an extra hour working on a paper, but I have to sacrifice that hour to sleep.”

Though there are drawbacks to choosing the Sabbath over work, there are also benefits Overmyer points out, saying, “I really think that when we incorporate Sabbath rest into our lives...we learn that God is God and we are not. And, we come out with a more collected demeanor and clear mind.”

With various activities and lectures available at the camp, this Fall Retreat provided students the option to rest as well as explore this subject of Sabbath further with discussions on living balanced and Christ-like lives. This weekend students not only had the chance to pursue Sabbath rest, but also present their house’s interpretation of Sabbath rest in The King’s College Annual Drama Competition.

 
 House of Bonhoeffer members Ryan Turner [left] and Meric Pope [right] laugh in response to a drama competition skit. || Photo Credit: Wesley Parnell

House of Bonhoeffer members Ryan Turner [left] and Meric Pope [right] laugh in response to a drama competition skit. || Photo Credit: Wesley Parnell

 House of Susan B. Anthony performs a skit of their interpretation of sabbath for the annual drama competition. || Photo by Wesley Parnell

House of Susan B. Anthony performs a skit of their interpretation of sabbath for the annual drama competition. || Photo by Wesley Parnell

 

The President of The King’s College, General Tim Gibson, ended the retreat with a word of advice.

“You have some people in your house who have made wise decisions in areas that you need to make wise decisions.” Gibson said. “You also have some people in your house who haven’t made the best decisions.”

Even though poor decisions have been made or bad patterns have been developed, President Gibson reminds that “the reality is we have to move forward.”
Gibson encouraged students to make decisions ahead of time in their lives, so that when they are pressured they’ve already decided what they will do. This is a form of rest because you will be better equipped to focus on the tasks at hand without added stress.

Overmyer looks forward to how these lessons will help our community, “I’m encouraged that weaving Sabbath into our lives can be as simple as taking a deep breath and acknowledging God when we first wake up. That seems simple enough!”