Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sabbath Time

This afternoon we are heading out on our post-Easter vacation. It is a little later than normal, but seeing that Easter was so early this year, we decided to wait. For us, this is one of the more important vacations that we take every year. After Lent and Easter, with all the services and planning that goes into those celebrations, this time of renewal is much needed. It is easy to get burned out with everything we do in daily life, and time away is very necessary to recharge the batteries and get ready for what comes next.

Whenever I get ready to take a break, such as this one, I am reminded at how brilliant God is. In creating the Sabbath, a day of rest, God shows how well he knows us. He knows that we are a busy people, that we have tons of activities to run to, meetings to attend, work to do. So he was intentional about creating the Sabbath - a day of rest and renewal. This is a time when we are to take a break from the daily grind and recharge for what comes next. It is a time designed to reflect on what God has blessed us with and spend time resting in God's wonderful arms of mercy and grace.

But so many of us, myself included, get tied up in the work of the day that we do not always take this Sabbath time. We keep running, meeting, working and run out of energy. In the process, we forget what a joy life really is because we are too busy to see the gifts that God has shared with us.

So we are called to rest - to rest from our daily work, rest from the hectic nature of life, rest and recharge - celebrating God's love for us and our love for others. Who knew that one of the callings we are given as disiciples is the calling to rest?

As I have time over the next week I will update how things are going on our vacation. I know that my family will be running in the sand, building sandcastles, and enjoying the bright sun. And I am sure I will find a coffee shop somewhere where I can log-on and let you know how things are. I also pray that you will find ways to honor the Sabbath and get the rest you need that will inspire you in your daily lives.


Betty Dygart said...
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Betty Dygart said...

"Retooling ourselves" is as necessary as the retooling of any assembly line. Without rest and recouperation, the world can begin to look bleak, depressing and problem-filled.

I am reminded of my mother and her advice, every time I was stuggling with a school assignment or a personal problem. Her advice was always, "Put it away for a while; go to bed. Things will look different in the morning."

I recall being upset with her and her over-simplification of what I viewed as a MONUMENTAL problem, however, eventually I would do exactly what she suggested, (albeit still in a fighting mood). Lo and behold, the next morning, things WOULD look different, not because they had changed, but because I HAD CHANGED. Rested, I was now able to see other ways of handling the assignment, the problem, or whatever had been plaguing me when I went to bed.

She was a very wise mother. I thank God for her influence on my life and for her continued spiritual presence beside me, to this day.

Another blessing to me have been my cats. I turn to another of my "cat psalms" for reinforcement of the need for rest and retooling:

"Let me sleep, let me sleep"

"I am cat; I sleep.
I sleep long, short, deep, light.
I know all ways to sleep.
And I sleep often.
I breathe slowly, quietly; my belly rises and falls with my breath.
They watch me sleep when they are awake.
They know I sleep often, sleep well.
When it is time, I draw my body into a circle, put my head on my paws, shut one eye, two eyes, sleep.
My body goes limp. I do not stir. They wonder how I can sleep so soon, so deep, so often.
Awake, I lick my paws, my sides, my ears; then I turn and go back to sleep.
I dream of stalking birds, leaping, climbing, chasing.
My whiskers twitch, my body twitches with my dreams.
They smile as they watch me sleep and dream.
They want my world of sleep.
My heart is quiet.
I am warm, I am loved.
There is no enemy.
I am cat, and I sleep well."

Dear God,

I long for sleep. My body rests, wakes, frets, tosses, slumbers, sleeps. Night is sometimes long, sometimes sleepless. My soul prays for rest. Day is done, work is finished; I close the shades, let go of my plans and cares.

I think of you. I give you my day, my work, my thoughts, my cares. My soul stretches, yawns. I quit climbing mountains; I trust deep valleys; I forgive the enemy. I love. I sleep. My soul rests in the night.

You have given me the gift of sleep. My rest is in your peace. Dear God, you made my soul to rest, to lie down in green pastures, beside still waters. You restore me in sleep and peace. Thank you, God.