One of my favorite places is Scotland and, in particular, the Highlands of Scotland. The Highlands are a place of majestic beauty, but it can also be a difficult place to travel through, due to the roughness of the terrain, frequent rain and high winds. Roads can be washed out or blocked by fallen rocks. These delays aren’t common today, but a century ago they were commonplace. There is one road in particular that is infamously tough to navigate, it’s called the A83. At one point the A83 climbs a treacherously steep mountain named The Cobbler. Landslides and falling rocks are frequent on The Cobbler. In the era of the horse and buggy, people climbed the mountain knowing it would be time consuming, arduous and potentially dangerous. A tradition began that when travelers finally made it to the top, they’d stop to rest and give thanks to God for their safe passage. If you travel to the top of the mountain today there is a stone to mark the spot where people stopped to rest and there is a car park near the stone marker where you can take in the view, it’s magnificent. The name of this place is “Rest and be Thankful.”
I love how the Scots actually named the place “Rest and be Thankful.” Since I visited “Rest and Be Thankful” a number of years ago, that name stuck with me and I will think about it sometimes, especially around Easter. Easter is a time when I reflect on the crucifixion. I think of Christ’s betrayal, His suffering, and His sacrifice. I think of the depth of God’s love, and how God’s love is a suffering, all consuming, passionate love. Then I think of the miracle of the resurrection and what it means to live in light of the resurrection. The Easter story is overwhelmingly good, in fact, I don’t believe the blessings of Easter can be fully comprehended or understood. Perhaps the best thing we can do is to “Rest and be Thankful,” because when I stop to think through the Easter story I/we truly have reason to “Rest and Be Thankful. We can rest and be thankful knowing our sin debt is paid in full and our eternal destiny is secure. We can rest and be thankful knowing we are beloved sons and daughters of the living Lord and that our God has a plan and purpose for our lives. We can rest and be thankful that joy and peace are ours to receive. We have traveled over some tough mountains this last year, as Easter approaches, let us intentionally carve out some time to do as those Scottish travelers did; let’s enter into an Easter rest and look back and give thanks for all God has done through Christ. May each one of you enjoy a blessed Easter. With much love for each of you, may God bless you and may God bless Bethel Church.