Monday, March 09, 2009

Sabbath :: It's Time to Stop

We live in a culture enchanted by facile slogans and fast food appetites. Under the spell of speed, we are desperately in need of something sacred. In a time of exponential hurriedness, we wear busyness as a token of significance. We are in need of a new sense of rhythm, a slowing, a Sabbath. Without such a sabbath rhythm, we are often absent from our own existence.

Sabbath isn’t just the absence of doing, it is the presence of being. It isn’t merely not working, it is actively resting. It is a time where we cease to create, so that we ourselves may in a sense be re-created. It’s a time to listen, hear, see, sense and reflect on that which is beautiful and in such awareness allow thankfulness, prayers and joy emerge from deep within.

Sabbath is about setting aside all that is expected to get done, in order to embrace the unexpected. It’s less about a day on the calendar and more about the disposition of the heart throughout the moments of our daily existence.

The pace of busyness has slowly calloused our hearts and blinded our understanding of who we have been created to be and the “worth” we are to embody. Slowly we have come to develop our footing more on “self-esteem,” derived from what we can extract out of the busyness, rather than resting in our worth as one simply loved by God. “Sabbath,” writes Wayne Muller, “is not dependent upon our readiness to stop.” If we wait until all our work is completed in order to stop and engage Sabbath, we will never stop, at least until we are dead. Sabbath reminds us that the toils of our work and spinning of our days have very little to do with the sustaining of the earth and all that is good. God sustains all and is in all. Slowly as we inhale, we begin to shed the tyranny of guilt that seeks to strangle and suffocate all the life out of rest. Sabbath can be experienced at any time and in any place, but the rhythm of life indeed was designed to experience one.

For quite some time, I’ve lived with an eternal “to do” list. In fact, on most days, the list seems to be getting longer, rather than shorter, regardless of how fast and long I toil. I was struck by Muller’s word about Sabbath being “a prescribed moment, it is time to stop. We cannot wait until we are finished, because we are never finished.” I’ve cognitively known this to be true, but recently I’ve began to embody that a little better with my life rhythms

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on what Sabbath really looks like for me and my family. With our schedule the past several months, the “when” has been just as challenging. Yet, there must be time to simply stop and back up. I found some of the reflections at the end of the chapters in Muller’s book thoughtful and useful as I look more and more at my weekly rhythms. There are areas where I can grow in seeing Sabbath(s) more integrated into my daily motions, as well as an extended period of time weekly as I practice the art of stepping back, pausing and recognizing all that is good.

(Referenced quote from, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, & Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller)

1 comment: said...

good thoughts man... we have been trying to 'step back' and find or create those times lately as well. Often we fail to see the lack but luckily our kids point if out to us. We can tell when we have not been taking those moments by how are kids are acting in a given week. As frustrating as that is at times I am so grateful that God uses them as little reminders.