There is an avalanche of "statement-making" that goes on in our culture today. Even the act of publishing this blog four times a week is a statement on my part: stating I think I have something to say, stating that I have people who read it, stating they care...
Each of these may be true, or untrue, especially the last line but regardless I'm making the statement. I hope you care.
Today I am reminded by Mindy Caliguire, a spiritual director and leader of SoulCare, about a spiritual discipline that makes a tremendous statement. Sadly it is one we often miss or misinterpret. I'm talking about the Sabbath.
In her book Simplicity, she says:
...sabbath rest. Far from being restrictive or legalistic, the point of this intentional downtime is to offer up a portion of our time as an offering of sorts back to God. Resting in His care and love is a way of declaring our dependence upon him for everything. In the same way that fasting from food reminds us that God is the ultimate source of our life and strength, focusing our attention and worship back toward God and resting from our productivity and efficiency during a sabbath reminds us that God has created each of us for more than just work. And that it's really not all up to us. (p. 60, bold mine)
Crashing through the din of our ever-connecting disconnection, through the messages of prosperity-through-activity that we hear constantly, is this prophetic cry in the hurried wilderness. Is it possible, even for those of us who work in vocational (translated here as "paid") full time ministry, that we are actually denying God the statement of worship that is rightly His by virtue of those gifts we're stretching to the limit with our constant activity?
I'm challenging you today to practice a Sabbath - start with an 8-hour period where you disengage from whatever you feel is your "productive" role in the world and do something that gives you enjoyment or pleasure.
Sleep. Read a novel. Take a nap. Skip the gym and eat something on the fringes of healthy.
You will have to make some decisions and plan ahead of time, especially because incorporating family into Sabbath is critical, but the planning and thinking through is well worth the rest and spiritual reprogramming that takes place when we release the leather reins we grip white-knuckled the other hours of our week.
Just remember: The point of Sabbath time is to realize how little you actually control by giving up all control and yielding it to God. It is making the grandest and most poetic statement to God - you are in control of the world and I am so very glad.
Here are some other helpful books on Sabbath that may be of use to you: