[musings from the manse – 18th April 2020]
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Act 3:19)
I was reading something where this verse was highlighted, and I realised I had never really noticed it before. It is buried in the midst of one of Peter’s sermon’s in the early chapters of Acts, but it never stuck in my mind. (Just goes to show that all those wonderfully-crafted words that I preach must just pass people by as well!)
All of Peter’s sermons are about calling people to faith in Jesus. That is what the “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,” bit refers to, but then comes something of a surprise, at least to me. This happens so “that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Times of refreshment? What might that mean?
What refreshes you? As glass of water? A soak in the bath? A glass of wine? A cup of tea? A walk in the country? A piece of music?
But is refreshment about more than that?
This word “refreshing” in the passage actually means something like relaxation, relief, respite, alleviation, rest or breathing space.
Things, generally, that Christians are not, on the whole, very good at, because we like to make ourselves look busy just in case God is focusing on us in particular at the moment!
We suffer easily for the guilt of doing as Christians. Yet these words of Peter remind us that in coming to faith, we are supposed to find refreshment.
The writer to the Hebrews talks of us finding the fulfilment of Sabbath rest in Jesus (Hebrews 4:1-13); a completion to our wandering and, instead being of being lost, we are found in Christ. In Christ we are at rest, at peace, we find refreshment.
This is not an excuse to turn into spiritual couch-potatoes, but it does mean we should not feel guilty about slowing down, especially at time such at this, enjoying life, enjoying connecting with people, enjoying creation, enjoying God.
Could this be a time of refreshing for you? A time that you have been longing for?
Yours in Christ
All bible passages from Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.