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Sabbath Day

July 18, 2014

This is my weekly post describing how I spent my sabbath.

Last week a member of the congregation I serve told me that she has known a lot of pastors but not one of them faithfully kept a sabbath. In her experience, I was the first. What a sad commentary on the example clergy are setting. Sabbath is a commandment. It is the connection between the first three commandments pertaining to our relationship with God and the final six pertaining to our relationships with one another. It is difficult to observe because it flies counter to almost all of the engines of our contemporary society. For any who wish to explore this further, I cannot recommend highly enough Walter Brueggemann’s recent Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now (Westminster John Knox Press, 2014).

I began this day by walking August to science camp, as I have everyday for the last two weeks. Actually, I walk or bike and he rides his scooter. This week he is exploring our universe in a camp called “Astronaut Training.” The camp is run by Discovery Science and meets in our church hall.

I then took two hours to finish Volume 13: Berlin 1932-1933, in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Works. It has been two months since I picked this book up, and I was immediately engrossed again. I have now finished six of the sixteen volumes in my journey through old favorites and new material. This selection covered Bonhoeffer’s pastoral and university work in Berlin during the year of Hitler’s rapid rise, including correspondence, writings/speeches and sermons. The volume ends with a sermon preached on election day in the church, the day in which the German Christians won 66% of the vote and ceased to be a Christ’s church. The last items of correspondence have to do with the position Dietrich had been offered in London, and his acceptance. It also contained his powerful essay “Thy Kingdom Come” and his justly famous speech “Christ our Peace.”

I then headed out for a hike. I began at Brownell Preserve in Lewisboro. As has become habit, I dictating thoughts as I walked. This morning I said:

“I feel about as far away from civilization here as I have anywhere in Westchester. The paths are well marked but not well trodden. In fact, throughout most of the preserve there is no trail at all, only blazes. If one were to lose sight of these one would be hopelessly lost. I have to be attentive the whole time. I cannot simply let my feet follow a trail because there is none. Streams and rivulets crisscross the property and as there are no bridges these have to be forded on roots and rocks. I lost my footing several times and stepped in the mud, but this was quickly wiped from my shoes in the tall grasses. I have never been more concerned about ticks and poison ivy on a hike. For all of my wading through knee-deep or waist-deep grass, I have only seen one snake, though I have surely stepped over many.

In the end I did lose the blazes in a large section of overgrowth. I gave up and cut across private property back to RT 138 and hiked back to my car. I had limited success at the nearby Marx Tract Preserve, which is also hopelessly overgrown.


I then headed over to Mountain Lakes Preserve in North Salem. There are ten miles of well marked trails here, and numerous camp sites. With our County Pass they are relatively inexpensive. Perhaps we will return as a family for a few nights before school begins.

I took the long orange loop, carefully avoiding the several summer camps that are meeting out here. About half of this route was unpaved road, which allowed me to follow my feet and keep my eyes and ears open to the lack of sound around me. I met an orange slug, a green beetle, and lots of mosquitos. I also clearly chose the wrong way around. I went counter-clockwise, which meant I was walking uphill most of the way. A short green trail led further up to Mt. Bailey, the highest point in Westchester County, according the to the map. Unfortunately, there is no vista, as the mountain is fully covered with trees.

photo 3

Maountain Lakes Park was the 100th park I have hiked in Westchester, and marked the 66th hike in the Westchester 100.

Evening found me breaking my ten day fast by with an beer and wings at the Lazy Boy Saloon. This was a surprise birthday celebration for a friend. We sat outside and enjoyed a lovely evening. Noelle made a Yoda-shaped cake.

Happy sabbath.



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