of creation can and will continue just as it must without any assistance or activity from me. For while I am beloved of the Lord, God is God and I am not: Sabbath helps me know this truth from the inside out. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes:
As I noted earlier this week, most Christians are not very good at honoring the essence of Sabbath. As one member of my congregation said to me recently, "Our way of being faithful can often seem like visiting a museum: you come to a special place, spend some time and then return to your activities until your next visit." In my crankier days (and sometimes still) I put it more crudely: "Simply standing all night in your garage does not make you a car any more than howling all night makes you a coyote." No, living into the unforced rhythms of grace is an embodied spirituality, not a spectator sport or an intellectual exercise. Heschel hits the nail on the head:
And so we rest - as God rested - learning to trust that as we rest and even waste time, a deeper, sacred blessing is being reborn within us from within the very heart of the Holy. As I reread Heschel, and reconsider how I might more faithfully honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, I am struck by two truths. First, Sabbath rest is not about frivolity or foolishness. It is playful and tender, to be sure, but it is not about entertaining myself or distracting myself from life. Rather, it is "
learn from the masters of Sabbath, I am going to have to let go of my work in time and truly practice being at rest.
And that means I'm going to have to interpret this for my congregation. As a rule, we are people on the move who want to get things done. Thank God my moderator values and appreciates my growing commitment to Sabbath and never contacts me during this sacred time away. But we don't have the cultural expectation of unavailability - we are uncertain about how to hallow time on earth like it is in heaven - and we are going to have to wrestle with the fact that "c
To the biblical mind menuha is the same as happiness and stillness and peace and harmony. The word with which Job described the state after life he was longing for is derived from the same root as menuha. It is the state wherein man lies still, wherein the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. It is the state in which there is no strife and no fighting, no fear and distrust. The essence of the good life is menuha. ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters.’ (the waters of menuhot) In later times menuha became a synonym for the life in the world to come, for eternal life.”
And so later today we will go to eat a Sabbath dinner with our daughter and son in law. Our dogs will run and play with one another in the country and we will share food and gifts, too. Tomorrow is time enough to reconnect with creation - I will meet the young eco-interns staying in our church and cut the grass - and who knows what else? But today...today is Sabbath.