To sit and look at light-filled leaves
May let us see, or seem to see,
Far backward as through clearer eyes
To what unsighted hope believes:
The blessed conviviality
That sang Creation’s seventh sunrise,
Time when the Maker’s radiant sight
Made radiant everything He saw.
And everything He saw was filled
With perfect joy and life and light.
His perfect pleasure was sole law;
No pleasure had become self-willed.
For all His creatures were His pleasures
And their whole pleasure was to be
What He made them; they sought no gain
Or growth beyond their proper measures,
Nor longed for change or novelty.
The only new thing could be pain.
–Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, III
“Crazy busy…” I wish I could count the number of times I have heard someone use this phrase in the last few years. “Crazy busy”…in response to a simple “How are you?” It has sometimes seemed to me to be a modern-day “red badge of courage”…to be “crazy busy…” What does it mean? Overwhelmed by demands, real or perceived? A validation of one’s worth…or importance? Or simply a way to deflect the simple “How are you?” question without really revealing anything about what is going on in one’s life. “Crazy busy…”
On the seventh day of creation, Genesis tells us, God rested. The monumental work of creation was done and, as Wendell Berry muses in his poem, God could rest…reflect…take joy in the wonder of creation. Rest is essential to our well-being as human beings. So the day after the summer solstice seems a good time to reflect on the importance of finding ways in our life to observe Sabbath rest so that we, too, can reflect…take joy in all the good gifts we have received in our life.
The fourth commandment written on the stone tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain of God says: “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.” This commandment has been observed in different ways and at different times throughout the history of the people of God. But it has always meant that there should be a regular and intentional rhythm of rest, contemplation, and reflection in our lives. Where in the “crazy busy” of our lives do we find time for that intentional rest? What does Sabbath rest look like?
At Southminster Church, we take a Sabbath from meetings in the month of July. For Presbyterians, that is no small thing! We can do without them for one month. I am going to be engaging prayerful discernment about how I can do better at intentional Sabbath rest. I invite you to do the same.
Grace and Peace,