Word of the Week

On the Fourth Day After Easter. . .

What did this pastor do? She is rested.

Today is a day I have very much looked forward to because it is my Sabbath (and at this point nothing seems to be disturbing it). It is a discipline to actually take my day off because there is always the urge that there is more to do. But, without Sabbath practice lately, I'm not sure I'd be upright and walking. It has been my energy for my weariness and enthusiasm for my soul.

Sabbath reminds me who I am outside of my role as pastor. Sabbath gives me the opportunity to be with people who love me regardless of what I do for them. And most importantly, Sabbath gives me time to connect with God in way that I can not in the busyness of jetted off from this appointment and to that responsiblity.

I was recently doing some reading on the Alban institute website and I found this great piece from Judith Schwanz:

Sabbath is a break from expectations and productivity. You don’t need to accomplish anything in the true sabbath. We have become so conditioned to believe that unproductive time is wasted time. What things have you put off doing because you had more pressing deadlines? When was the last time you read a book just for fun? How long has it been since you turned off the alarm clock and slept in? Do you love to putter in the garden, but rarely find time for it? These things and many others may be ideal sabbath practices for you if you find them to be a source of refreshment.

Sabbath is a break from competition. For one day, we lay aside the pressure to be number one, to be better than anyone else. Competition pervades our society and the church and pushes us to try a little harder, give a little more to strive for the best. For the sabbath, lay aside the need to win and be content to participate in life. Choose not to engage in those activities that require competition.

Sabbath is a break from consumerism. We spend so much time during the week thinking about making money, paying bills, and acquiring things we really need as well as those we just want. Our consumer society provides us with so many choices and upgrades that we can easily get sucked into the cycle of always wanting more. We want the newest gadget, the latest technology. God calls us to a life of simplicity. Especially on the sabbath, resolve to take the time to appreciate what you do have and refrain from the hectic grasping for more. Sabbath is a good time to ask, “Do I really need that?” and discern what is really important.

We need all of these breaks-- not just when we go on our annual vacations-- but every week. Imagine how refreshed and self-aware we'd all be if we actually took complete days off on a regular basis.

I want to be a pastor who encourages Sabbath practice in my congregation for these reasons and many more, so I best get to modeling it myself. Off the computer for the rest of the day: Sabbath, here I come!