For a musician, the symbol for rest on a sheet of music signals them to completely stop playing for an interval of time. It is a period of silence that is sometimes used as a dramatic pause to draw attention to the next few stanzas, sometimes it is used as relief for the intensity of the previous stanzas, sometimes it is used when changing from one cord or instrument to another, and sometimes it is used to mark the beginning or the end of a piece.
There are several different symbols used in music to signify different periods of rest such as whole note rests, quarter note rests and eighth note rests. Just as in music, we too have different periods and purposes of rest in our lives. We need rest both mentally and physically in order to renew our strength, gain proper perspective on our circumstances, or prepare of a period of future intensity such as the birth of a baby, new job, new home or new relationship.
Daily Rest. Our bodies are naturally designed for daily rest through sleep. The amount of sleep depends on the individual, age, and circumstances of the day. For instance, a growing newborn baby requires more sleep time than awake. In contrast, an adult doing little physical labor may require less sleep then one engaged in daily physical labor. When we lack sleep or lack good quality sleep, our mental and physical abilities are not at their best performance.
Weekly Rest. However, we need more rest than our daily sleep requirement which is why one of the Ten Commandments is to honor the Sabbath. The Sabbath is one day from sundown to sundown of complete rest, no working every week, giving praise and thanks to God. Some celebrate this day on Saturday, some on Sunday, and some on other days of the week depending on their work schedule. This is an essential period of rest because it rejuvenates our energy levels, aids in proper perspective of our lives, and recognizes our blessings come from God.
Yearly Rest. But the Bible does not stop there. There are seven other holidays commanded in the Old Testament that last for a period of seven days or one day. Each holiday has a different purpose, significance and period of rest:
- Passover, one day holiday reminds us of God’s deliverance from slavery;
- Unleavened Bread, seven-day holiday reminds us that we leave the old life behind and enter a new life;
- First Harvest, one day holiday reminds us of God’s provision for our daily needs;
- Harvest (Pentecost), one day holiday shows joy and thanksgiving for the harvest;
- Trumpets, one day holiday expressing joy and thanks for the new year;
- Day of Atonement, one day holiday reminds us of our sinfulness and restores our fellowship with God;
- Shelters, seven-day holiday renews our commitment to God, trusting in His guidance and protection.
These periods of rest are designed to be like the rest notes in a piece of music. Each has a purpose and period of time designed to renew our strength, give thanks, restore our relationships, reflect on the past, and remember the goodness of God.
What are the holidays that you celebrate? Are you using your vacation days every year and resting? Are you taking out one day a week for complete rest? Are you getting enough daily rest through sleep? Our periods of rest as in a music sheet helps to mark the significant events of our lives, binds us together as a family and strengths our faith in God.
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