We did something new and different in Sunday school on three Sundays in September and I hope you found it worthwhile.  We invited all the ladies of the church to come to a “Women’s only” Sunday school class and made sure all the other responsibilities in the church were covered by the men.  The men also had their own class taught by Charlie Van Meter.  I wanted to thank the men who made this possible from those working in the nursery to all the primary Sunday school grades.  Yours was a service to the church well rendered.  For the ladies who made the effort to attend, I know it was a very big effort for some of you, I am very grateful to you for taking the time to come and be a part.

The Session decided the teaching elder of the church should be the one to teach the women’s class, so it was my great privilege to be the only man in a room full of women.   I was excited to get the opportunity and enjoyed every minute of teaching the ladies of the church.  The title of the class, for those who were either not able to attend or are of the masculine gender, was “Community of Rest.”  We took a look at the biblical doctrine of rest and spent some time looking at what that means in the context of the church.  The people of God have been given a pattern of one day in seven to rest because we are created in God’s image and God created rest when He “rested” from His work of creation.  That is not to say that He ceased being active is sustaining His creation.  Biblical rest is not a lack of activity there are things to be done.  Think about what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28,

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 We see that rest is found in Jesus.  Rest is not freedom from the yoke, but taking up Jesus’ yoke. 

In the church, rest has to do with coming together for worship and fellowship, it has to do with relationships that are centered on Christ, relationships that are in and of themselves spiritually refreshing.  We are talking about relationships that encourage us to walk in the Spirit, to grow in grace, and to follow hard after Christ.  These are transformative relationships and we want to foster these kinds of relationships here at Faith Church.  That is what church is to be about, serving God together and looking forward to those little tastes of heaven that we get here together that point us to our true and full heavenly rest that is to come.

These are some challenging concepts and the ladies were given several opportunities to break out into small groups to discuss what we learned.  I was very encouraged by the amount of energy and enthusiasm that was apparent in the groups.  In fact, I felt bad when I had to cut them short because class was about over.

So where do we go from here?  Well, the Session and the Christian Education Committee will be discussing what we found and seeing how we might grow from this experience.  We will keep you informed as we progress in our pursuit of being a community of rest.