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Sabbath Day

July 5, 2014

A month (or two) in review.

Ok. So I have only enjoyed two sabbaths in a row one time since the beginning of April. A series of funerals and visitations, hospital calls and pastoral calls, took priority, as they should have. I have not taken a hike in five weeks, nor been climbing in the gym since the beginning of May. I did take most of a Monday one week to try and recover a sabbath rest, but have not had a day off since.

And after posting “whoops, no sabbath today” on May 2, I have not even bothered writing about what I was missing.

Well, the lectionary this week brings us these words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus rested. And gives this gift to us as well.

Sabbath rest is good for our souls, because rest prepares us for those time of turmoil when we are called upon around the clock; rest helps us distinguish between commitment and mere driveness; and a rested mind makes better decisions. Part of who we are, and who God is is, can only be accessed through rest.

I have  rabbi friend who burnt himself out once before learning as a leader to receive the sabbath rest God intends. He taught several of us clergy to embrace this gift before we burn out.

Sabbath is a weekly practice for me, most of the time. I dedicate Thursday as my sabbath day. It had been regular practice for years, not given over to housework or backlogged tasks but to reading, reflection, exercise, hiking, climbing, talking, dancing, sleeping, and family time. Some sabbaths look busier than others, but all are intended to restore balance, mindfulness, and focus.

I took a sabbath this week. I spent the whole day in an amusement park with my family and with good friends from Australia. The fireworks got rained out, but we had a full day of fun and laughter, an oversized American meal, and a good night’s sleep.

It was followed by my first holiday off this year.

God is good.


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