The joy of Sabbath time

I’m beginning to call the moments in my life where I’m not imprisoned by a schedule (work time) as Sabbath time.  Sabbath is really just the act of resting.  We surround it with two passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy.  And over the millenia we have created all sorts of rules – so much so that we have had to work hard at resting.

At least that has been my experience.  My wife watches me pace the floor as I try to Sabbath.  I secretly envy those who can just drop everything and move into rest.

So, without planning it (but perhaps with a few years of unconscious desire), I have been getting up this week at 6:00 in the morning.  I figure by 8:00 I need to be getting ready to head to the church office.

Between 6:00 and 8:00 I have chosen not to find a faster way to do things.  I’ve chosen to pick a task that can be interrupted.  I’ve chosen to dismiss deadlines.  I don’t wear a watch or carry a cell phone.  I’ve chosen to be the opposite of my usual driven, administrative self.

This morning I picked up small rocks.  For various reasons they needed to be moved.  I contemplated using a rake, or a wire mesh.  But then I decided to pick each stone up separately, be sure it was brushed off, and place it in a pail to be emptied later.

Usually I would have been frustrated within seconds.  I would have charged off to find a “better way.”  But there was no rush.  No deadline.

So, I noticed the shape of the rocks, their color, the dead leaves and compost that had gathered around the stones, the breeze that blew away stray pieces of matter, the holes in my gloves, the sun shining, the coolness of the cement, the grains of sand texturing the soil, . . . and most of all I noticed that I was noticing!

Perhaps we do run too fast, organize to much, and miss rest.

I’m enjoying these Sabbath times.  When do you find Sabbath time in your own life?

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  1. Ah Sabbath and the disciplines that promote Sabbath.
    Ron I so value your approach to things and your contemplative processes.
    Thank you for sharing the rock story. From time to time I am able to embrace jobs like that as you did, but the standard is usually the impatience and desire to be ‘productive’. But what Grace Jesus shines into our lives when we engage with him along the way, whatever the way!

    Have you run across Marva Dawn’s stuff on Sabbath? Quite interesting and stirring. There are some comments in her book with Eugene Peterson “The Unnecessary Pastor” I think I have some audio too if you’re intrested. Very thoughtful and disciplines theologian Marva.

    How does the hymn go? “For the beauty of the earth… Lord to you this song we raise, hear our hymn of praise”…. not exact, but it captures what inspires my heart to read about you and the stones. Thanks for that breath of grace into my life through you!

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