I hope today has found all of you well, whether I know you or not. I also hope today has brought you closer to Christ in some way great or small. I pray and will pray it has and that days coming can help us all come closer to Him.
I will write my first reflective posts on Morning Prayer form today shortly, but first I would like to honor a friend of mine in this post who reminded me of something very important. My friend Mary Ann, I hope, will not mind my using her name. She has been my friend since I first started middle school. She is that friend many of us have and treasure most because she is one who met me in circumstances of great physical, mental, and social duress.
I will simply say we met in P.E. Something about my inabiltiy to run the mile or play any sport with proficiency lent her a sympathy for me that turned into early mentor-ship and friendship. And today, seven years later, I feel we are closer than we have ever been.
In her, I have found a confidante and spiritual adviser. Many of my friends to whom I hope to dedicate posts soon are this way, but what Mary Ann told me this evening seemed to me the perfect subject for one of my early posts.
Visiting her today, I admitted to her my great struggle with time and the feeling that too little of it was dedicated to spiritual enrichment, in spite of the fact that I find greatest joy and solace in writing and thinking about what God has provided in my life to change it. I told her that I felt as if time passed so quickly, as if I couldn’t take a breath without wondering if I had a moment to think about taking the next one. I also told her I had trouble finding time to be alone to study, research, and organize. I have been traveling for the past month and a half, and I admitted my nerves and thoughts had worn thin with commitments and the thoughts that I couldn’t fulfill them all.
She responded to my muddled panic by asking,” Kathleen, do you have a Sabbath?”
The very simplicity of the question silenced me.
A Sabbath? Certainly, I had.
What do you do on Sunday?
Go to church.
And after that?
do you rest?
The pattern of questioning continued, my confusion growing while hers lessened. She told me that the Sabbath is not another word for Sunday alone. Instead, she commented, it is a day dedicated to studying God’s word and resting with the knowledge of God in our lives, allowing it to sink into our minds and hearts, slowed to enjoy His gifts, be they the sunrise, the glory He has given us in Nature, the extra time to read a book for pleasure, or even to sleep or watch Netflix. In other words, the Sabbath was a time to allow God’s word to guide us and calm us in preparation for the rest of the week. In the same way God created the world and punctuated his creation of that world with rest, so too must the creation formed in His image take rest, allowing us to appreciate the beauty of salvation and His creation.
This Sabbath, she said, was that which opened our eyes further to pursuing Him. Rest allows time for reflection, reflection time for organization, and organization time to place our priorities in place for the week.
Truly, the very first chapters of Genesis illuminate this idea. God created the world in six days, giving it order, time, space; symmetrically dividing it into day and night, creating land and sea, placing animals in it, all with different places and functions, and placing all that we see of natural beauty with a certain order and place together. Reading chapters one and two, we see in God’s work an ordering of beautiful proportions. Everything has a place, and most beautiful of all, man was created as God reflected on His creation in that day of REST. We were created after that Sabbath. In that wonderful little space of time in which He rested and saw before Him all that beauty, He conceived of His most precious creation of all–man–His children, the protectors on Earth of all He had made and held so dear.
Imagining this, how can we not take our own Sabbath? If we do not take the time to rest in His creation and appreciate the very place He created and bequeathed to our care, are we not dishonoring all which we were given from Him?
It is incredible to think at the very beginning of the Bible, God formed creation, and, in His period of rest, conceived of His most treasured creation and gave to them a stunning kingdom to protect, appreciate, and in which to rest.
I believe one of the reasons so many of us do not see the beauty of our triune God is because we busy ourselves with the tasks of the world, ceasing to reflect upon the beauty of the creation before us. As we sit and watch a sunset, smell a rose, watch the waves of the seas ebb and flow, or even listen to the rain fall, we will become more aware of the fact that it could only have been divinely created by a wonderful artist.
This said, I urge all to take a Sabbath, to rest in God’s creation. I also hope you might read Genesis with renewed fervor. I also ask this of those who do not believe, that you may rest and take a moment to realize that the first commemorative day God created was one of rest, made in anticipation of man’s need for rest in order to find himself and God.
Holy Father, I pray that in You we may find rest, peace, and a lighter burden by honoring the Sabbath, taking the time to begin and end that day in you and giving ourselves the time to honor and appreciate the time of rest your ordained for us. I pray for those who have not taken such a time, for those who move so quickly in the world without seeing its beauty through rest in You. May we turn our hearts to that rest given by You and found in You.