“Seeking Faithful Rest”

There are many words in our vocabulary that get stuffed in a closet and forgotten about.  Once a word leaves our regular usage it becomes more like “out of thought out of our experience.”  More times than not this is to our own peril.  A word we run across occasionally, think is a good idea, but is rarely lived out is the word SABBATH. 

The other fear of certain words is to minimize their true meaning and potential in our life.  We tend to minimize the word “Sabbath” to mean one of the following things: a day off, an escape, doing nothing, or taking a nap and getting needed lost rest.  Sabbath is often looked at as a practice much like filling up our car with gas so we can go again.

God was very intentional about the formation, understanding, and practice of Sabbath.  It is first encountered in the creation story in Genesis.  We hear it again in the 10 Commandments with Moses.  Moses and his followers hear this cry from God many time to take time out for Sabbath.  Jesus talks about it in his ministry and practices with periods of rest and prayer himself.  Sabbath is a word that invites us to cease that we might be more open to God’s presence and be more attentive to God’s world in mindful and caring ways. 

I remember last month taking the baptism class to the Japanese Gardens to reflect on creation.  They didn’t seem very excited to visit a garden.  Little did they know they would get to walk across the water on stepping stones, feed the fish, look for turtles, and walk down all kinds of fun trails.  I had to drag them out to go to our next activity. 

I believe God wants us to pause enough to fully take in the joy of what God has created around us.  Who doesn’t enjoy looking up at the stars at night and pondering about the big questions of life.  I enjoy talking walks around the neighborhood with family and getting to visit with neighbors and petting dogs.  Sounds simple but they are activities and fill our soul.  I even value time dedicated to reading to expand my mind and knowledge about all the wonderful things people do in the world.

If I pay too much attention to my calendar and where I need to be then I will miss out on such activities and God will slowly disappear from the life all together.  God hungers for us to engage God presence and God’s creation with joy and intentionality.  When we create Sabbath time and see it just as time for a renewal of self and community we find ourselves better focused for the regular activities of our lives.  We come to realize that Sabbath is and should be one of the regular activities of our lives.  God wants us to come to a place that we value ourselves more for who we “are” rather than what we “do.”  I encourage you to practice Sabbath more regularly in your life.

Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilson