Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sabbath rest from sunrise to sunset.


Last week I bought an adult sized superman's cape at Walmart.  The cashier, a little curious, questioned my purchase.  I told her that it was for our children's Christmas play at church.  "Huh?"
I then let her know that the plot is about the superheroes feeling a little insecure about a new super power coming to save the world, Jesus.  She told me what church bus her kids rode.  "You have to work a lot of Sundays, don't you?" I asked.  "Yes, every Sunday.  They used to pay us $1 more an hour, but the new employees don't even get that." 

Keeping the Sabbath isn't what it used to be.  I remember my feelings growing up wondering if I would complain to an employer if they asked me to work on Sundays.  Back then there was a federal law which protected you from that if it was for religious reasons, like being a contentious objector to working on the Sabbath.  Haven't heard of that one lately, have you?

"Farmer Boy," by Laura Ingals Wilder had a whole chapter about her husband's childhood memory of keeping the Sabbath.  It was strictly observed which was very boring for active little boys.  If my memory serves me, they snuck out while the grown-ups snoozed to try out their new sleds, a big "no-no."  All was going well until a pig wandered in their path and refused to be quiet about being swooped up unexpectedly to ride down the hill on their laps.  Busted.  It is a reminder that more often than not observing the Sabbath was the same as boredom.  We've completely lost that concept in my lifetime.  However, the opposite of boredom is overwork, even playing too hard.

"The tyranny of the urgent"
"There is something comforting about being overworked.  If work is the meaning of our lives, then more work means more meaning."*  Translated to the world of motherhood, being frazzled is a badge of honor we wear.  After all, "Men work from sun to sun while a woman's work is never done."  "We can never work our way to heaven." (Christianity is the only religion in the world this is true.) "The need to impress God is part of our fall from heaven...the trick is to allow God to impress you."*  The result of the fall is that work was cursed, and we would have to work by the sweat of our brow.  Not to worry, God had already built in a remedy, the Sabbath rest.  "Give me a break!"  O.K. 
So back to Superman and Children's ministry...Usually, the first question parents ask their children after picking them up from Children's Church is, "Did you have fun today?"  It's the Sabbath.  It's suppose to be fun, not work.  But the real question for us is this: do we feel threatened by the Superpower who came to save the world preferring instead to carry the world on our shoulders?  Turn in your cape.  It is a mere costume.
Soul Rest
"Jesus said, 'Come unto me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

"I feel as if God had, by giving the Sabbath, given fifty-two springs in each year."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Sabbath ceasing (means) to cease not only from work itself, but also from the need to accomplish and be productive, from the worry and tension that accompany our modern criterion of efficiency, from our efforts to be in control of our lives as if we were God...and, finally, from the humdrum and meaninglessness that result when life is pursued without the Lord at the center of it all."
Marva J. Dawn
Sabbath: "coming in out of the wind."
"It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.
All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. 
And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back;
in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view,
letting that other larger, quieter life come flowing in.
And so on, all day.  Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings;
coming in our of the wind."
C.S. Lewis
*quotes from Matthew Sleeth, M.D. "24/6"

These pictures are from ladies retreat last year at Lake Tahoe.

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