taking delight in the Sabbath...

Today was our Sabbath: a time away from work, fretting, business as usual and most of the
chores that take up so much of our ordinary days. Dianne and I have been committed to radical Sabbath keeping for most of our time together. And while we have not always lived into the full promised rest of this sacred discipline, we have consistently cherished that promise - and this has kept us on track. Abraham Joshua Heschel has been our guide. His wisdom on Sabbath keeping continues to ring true:

To gain control of the world of space is certainly one of our tasks. The danger begins when in gaining power in the realm of space we forfeit all aspirations in the realm of time. There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern...

All around us we see that life has gone wrong. Terribly wrong. At the same time it is exquisitely
beautiful, too. And within that beauty there is a message of hope for us: God is in control even when lunatics dominate our political life and violence claims the day. Heschel noted that only when we know the "inner Temple" of solitude and trust can we be free from the manic demands of the dominant culture.

Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time. Our intention here is not to deprecate the world of space. To disparage space and the blessing of things of space, is to disparage the works of creation, the works which God beheld and saw “it was good.” The world cannot be seen exclusively sub specie temporis. Time and space are interrelated. To overlook either of them is to be partially blind. What we plead against is man’s unconditional surrender to space, his enslavement to things. We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.

And so we moved slowly through the day, free from any demands from beyond, and fully connected to the moment and the time we share. Later I read a comment from one who left an encouraging word on a recent blog post. I had shared my worship notes for this coming Sunday - the blessing of our pets for the Feast of St. Francis - and was summarizing the cosmic unity that God set in motion in the beginning. His note made my heart sing.  This is what we can trust if we rest into the promise of deep Sabbath.

I am awed when I consider that 8 billion years ago the entire known universe was composed of nothing but hydrogen and helium. Nowhere in the universe were there conditions even remotely capable of supporting life. And no reasonable observer of that state of affairs would have concluded that such conditions would ever be possible. It's hard to imagine a situation more apparently hopeless. Yet here we are. It makes being an optimist in face of today's difficulties relatively easy. :)

I sense that Bill is right...


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