Can you even bear to read one more thing? I am struggling to, avoiding my social media feed, warily glancing at notification alerts that pop up on my phone, skipping some of the news sites I always visit before bed. Bad scary updates are everywhere, constant, crushing hope and causing faith to get lost in fear. Regardless of political affiliation, we can all agree that there is much disagreement and it is loud and unrelenting.
How does one find joy in all of this? Are we supposed to find joy in all of this? Am I as a white woman meant to carry extra pain for my brothers and sister of color right now? Are my brothers meant to add the weight of hurts for all of their sisters too? As Christians should we kneel or stand up for our Muslim brother and sisters, or sit quietly and mind our own business? The choices are individual, not to be mandated from the altar or a blog or our social media feed. I will push a different agenda though, one of Sabbath.
According to Exodus 20:8 , the Sabbath is commanded by God to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested from creation. God needed a break from creating, from dealing with all that He had done. He built that in, inarguably wise, but we don't easily accept this gift of rest. I know the multitude of reasons. Yet, we too need that break from what we create in the world. Some of it is good, very good. I attend several book studies at church and they are pulling my soul in very different directions, reshaping my world and mind and it is exhausting. I am thinking big ideas while new pathways are plowed into my heart. This is creation work. I need to take my Sabbath to recover from merely this. Adding in all the other life events of a frequent live-in grandson, two huge beast dogs, financial strain and unemployment worry, Sabbath is restorative as long as I don’t fill those empty time spaces with social media and news. That is not Sabbath. I need a break, a full break.
But did God just ask us to hit the couch, put our feet up and take a nap one day a week? This is good, joyful stuff also, but there is more. The critical piece is to reflect on Him. God created our world and then stopped on the 7th day to reflect on it all, to note that it was good. We are to reflect on our blessings, on our God and find that He is still present, that He is good. There is our joy. Not the cute animals on Facebook, but in our Sabbath time with God.
Friends, the world is in upheaval and we are called to be active followers of Christ. We are called to see the hungry, the needy and the weak and not pass on by. I love that our congregation gets this, sure we can do better and we are. But the number of hungry and needy and weak may just keep getting larger, we have to step away and find our joy and get revitalized. If we burn out early, the fight may well be lost.
Would you be willing to join me in taking a real Sabbath? Let’s get some rest and reflect on the Goodness of God. He said to do it, after all. There is one thing surely we can all agree on.
~ Lisa Eaker