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Weekly Meditation May 29th

Keeping Sabbath in a busy world


“Then Jesus said, “The Sabbath was crated for humans; humans weren’t created for the Sabbath.” Mark 2: 27 (CEB)

 

         Jesus and his disciples are being scrutinized for plucking grain to eat as they walked through a wheat field. The criticism is not coming because they are taking something that does not belong to them. They are being criticized for plucking and eating the grain on the Sabbath. A day in which tradition dictated one fasts and does no work.

         The interaction between Jesus and his skeptics comes from different understandings of what one can do on the Sabbath. We struggle with Sabbath in a different understanding – we struggle with not doing on the Sabbath. Our identity and self-worth are tied directly to how busy we are and the amount we accomplish. When we are honest with ourselves, we can admit our egos preen a bit when someone remarks, “I don’t know how you do all you do.” We feel affirmed through what we do. Sabbath is the opposite of doing. Such is why it is such a struggle.

         Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word meaning “ceasing” or “stopping”. A time of intentional stopping to rest and reside in God’s presence. The practice is based on God’s resting after creating the world. Once all God’s completed creating, God rested and made rest holy. A time given to humans by God to become more the people God created us to be.

         For many people resting or taking a break brings forth feelings of guilt and inadequacy. How did we take a gift of God and turn it against ourselves? We are quick, like the Pharisees, to bring judgment and criticism to those who rest or keep Sabbath. Our traditional practice of worship in community on Sabbath is often viewed as only necessary when time permits. We go to church when the calendar is empty of our more precious priorities. Those priorities in a culture of now will require more and more of our time and more and more of our very lives. The machine which is modern schedules will always demand more of what we can do and produce. In the end we are not fulfilled by our packed schedules, we are depleted. We no longer know who we are beyond our activity.

         Sabbath is a gift to us. The gift is ours. When we do not receive the gift or notice the gift, we are the ones who suffer. Each of us will honor Sabbath in our own way. Sabbath occurs in places of aloneness and in places of community. The most difficult part of Sabbath is making space for it. Sabbath requires us to stop. We must step off the hamster wheel of ego building activities and dwell and honor God. We must be willing to stop and pause to appreciate the benefit. Sabbath does make us uncomfortable at first, but we will survive Sabbath taking. We may not survive the constant activity of our culture which drains us of our very soul. Yet, the invitation to Sabbath is constantly before us, just waiting for us to dwell, and nothing else, in God’s presence.

 

Faithfully Yours,

Rev. Wendy



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