I’ve been thinking a lot about Sabbath keeping recently. Maybe because holy week is coming soon: the busiest week of a pastor’s year, the time when bulletins after bulletins and services and services must be planned and planned some more. Maybe because it is something that our household is trying to be better at after my husband ended up in the hospital on Monday morning due to exhaustion and dehydration (a preventable condition if he’d just taken better care of himself the week before). Maybe it is just because it is a topic we seem to talk about a lot in the church, but rarely put into practice.
Can I just say that sabbath frustrates me. It is easier to be “good” at work than it is to be “good” at rest. No one is ever going to praise you for rest the same way they are of work. But, the longer any of us go without rest, our work will of course suffer. So, why not get the hint and embrace it?
But, after all, as people of faith, Sabbath keeping is not a suggestion but a command. Keep the Sabbath day holy . . .
So I ask myself and my congregation regularly: “How can we live into Sabbath more often?” And, by Sabbath, I don’t necessary mean one day (though one days of Sabbath are good), but a Sabbath filled life.
This is what I am noticing-
Sabbath finds me when I stop and listen to the voice that says, “Why are you in such a hurry?”
Sabbath looks like turning off the radio in the car. Sabbath looks like not rushing out the door in the morning on the way to work; instead getting up early enough to just be. Sabbath looks like saying lots of “No’s” to meetings that just aren’t necessary. Sabbath looks like turning off the tv more often and reading a book just for fun. Sabbath looks like walking down the bakery aisle at the grocery store, just to smell the bread. Sabbath looks like finishing my sermon on Friday so Saturday is really a free day.
Sabbath looks a lot like a Mary Oliver poem.
“Just a minute,” said a voice…
By Mary Oliver
“Just a minute,” said a voice in the weeds.
So I stood still
in the day’s exquisite early morning light
and so I didn’t crush with my great feet
any small or unusual thing just happening to pass by
where I was passing by
on my way to the blueberry fields,
and maybe it was the toad
and maybe it was the June beetle
and maybe it was the pink and tender worm
who does his work without limbs or eyes
and does it well
or maybe it was the walking stick, still frail
and walking humbly by, looking for a tree,
or maybe, like Blake’s wondrous meeting, it was
the elves, carrying one of their own
on a rose-petal coffin away, away
into the deep grasses. After awhile
the quaintest voice said, “Thank you.” And then there was silence.
For the rest, I would keep you wondering.
So, what about you: experienced Sabbath lately? What has it looked like? Any surprises?