Since about the month of march I have been truly overloaded. There were the 2 church jobs, the 5 masters classes and then the 40 hour a week unpaid chaplaincy gig. I have also managed to propose to a wonderful woman plus planning a wedding that is coming both all too soon and not soon enough. If this weren’t time consuming enough, I have been transitioning from one church job to the next. My life has been hectic to say the least.
The thing I have missed most during this time is the time to reflect and process. In the Hebrew bible at the very beginning God is pretty busy. He gets a lot done in a short span of time to say the least. But he doesn’t just move on to the next big act of creation, another project among many. Instead he takes a break, he stops, and breathes it all in. Yet as I think about it God rests all along the way (cf gen 1:4-5, 7-8, 12-13, 18-19, 21-23, 25). Like any good artist he takes a step back from his work and evaluates it on its own terms. Each piece in place, He inspects the whole and enjoys what he has accomplished. Sabbath is a word about rest the sort we take by following God’s example (cf gen 1:31-2:4, ex 20:8ff, deut 5). Yet in America we struggle mightily with the concept of “rest. We understand “sleep” or “food coma” “veg-out in front of the tv” but we do not understand rest. The strange thing is that despite the inclusion of this among the 10 commandments (alongside unthinkables like “murder”) we often dismiss the idea of having a full day in which we are neither producers, nor consumers (the two great temptations of our society). By contrast, in the original languages of scripture, “sabbath” can refer to either aether day of rest or just the generic word for week. This is not some grand hidden meaning in scripture but I think it creates an interesting blurring of the boundaries between the Lord’s day and the rest of the week. What if we spent our week mindful of the fact that ultimately our creation is a subset of a grander work in which we too are players? What if we could slow down enough to notice, or better yet enjoy, what God is making in and around us? What if we could ride the line between laziness and an addiction to business?
I am coming to an end of a very busy season in my life and the new church I am working with demands that I take one day off and one Sabbath. I was surprised to find out that they actually distinguish between the 2 and provide accountability to make sure the employees stay healthy. I am looking forward to following in the Master Gardener’s footsteps.