MY SABBATH WAY
Chaos and Clutter
Monkeys chattering in my mind
The time has come, the time is now…
No, not yet
Must, I must…
Appointments and schedules
Light the candle
Close the Door
Open my heart
Grateful heart, loving heart, blessed heart
Close my eyes
Hear God’s word
See Jesus’ face
Feel the Spirit’s presence
Cherish and adore
Bless and Praise
Break the bread, drink the wine
Communion and Reunion
The tide swells and ebbs, the moon waxes and wanes the sun sets and rises.
Come to the river, climb the mountain, sit by the sea, walk in the sand,
smell the flowers, listen to the wind, hold my hand, caress my body.
Extinguish the Candle
Ordered and clean
Refreshed and renewed
Untangled and complete
Beginning new, I saw that it was all good.
“My Sabbath Way” unfolded as I sat with the words, images, and sensations that stirred within me as I pondered Wayne Muller’s insights, stories and exercises that he provides in his book “Sabbath”. I was moved to feel in myself that inner struggle of frenzy, busyness and the cluttered life that I often find myself in…that feeling of not enough time to see the beauty around me and within me. To be rushed to the point of being overwhelmed with the lists of unending tasks that I allow to encroach upon and often eliminate time to spend with family and friends…time to be in relationship and communion with myself, others and God.
The most meaningful word for me as Muller described the Jewish practice of Sabbath was STOP. “Stop now”, not in 10 minutes, not when I feel ready, which of course some days would be never, but “stop now”. Although I realize that in reality there may be some leeway; it is the concept behind it that is impacting me. “Stop now, stop everything, stop and breathe, stop and remember, be conscious to all that I have been blessed with.”
There is a newness for me in the practice of Sabbath focusing on gratitude and delight and totally letting go of worrying or thinking of the work that is to be done or that which has been “left undone” as we say each Sunday in confession. How can this not create renewal and refreshment? The Sabbath practices of worship, reading and not working have been a part of my Sundays for years, but Muller has encouraged me to consider an intentional time of thanksgiving in these practices as well as while gathering with friends or family, the shared meal, the afternoon tea, or a leisurely walk.
Being in nature is already a profound Sabbath and sacred space for me. It has been since I was very young. Then as now, it is the where I most frequently go to talk over things with myself and God. Sometimes I walk, sometimes I run, often alone. It usually provides me with a sense of renewal. However, this has also been a time when I debate a problem or make lists for the moment I return home and unlock the door. So, although these encounters in nature are often re-energizing and problem-solving times, they have not always been set aside or intentional. I went just this morning on a beautiful early morning walk with my husband. We called it a Sabbath walk. What made it different is that we shared that it was a sacred space and time. We did not hash out our concerns, worries, frustrations or mountains of jobs in the job jar. We were moved by the fog rising on the river, the frost, yes, the first frost, on the roof tops, the fresh, crisp air. We each thought and sometimes spoke our thankfulness. We commented and brought to the attention of the other something that we were moved by. There was silence, peace and refreshment. It allowed my mind to open to write this part of my reflection. I had spent yesterday in the composition of “My Sabbath Way” which was such a physical and emotional experience for me. I had shared it with my husband…this is not something that I would normally do. It created an honesty and intimacy that paved the way for our shared enriching refuge this morning.
There is a realization that I often am in a potential Sabbath moment, hour, or space, but have arrived there by surprise, quite unintentionally. My new awareness is that these times and situations could become “My Sabbath Way” by being fully present and intentional to them, by coming to a definite STOP…by lighting the candle as it were, by taking that pause, inhaling that breath and being stilled and delighted with all that God is within and around me.