We’ve all had the experience of being too busy in life, trying to catch up to some goal such as wealth, happiness, wholeness, or even God, only to have it continually elude us. But what if, in our busyness, we’ve actually been running from what we want and not toward it? In Judaism and Christianity the idea of Sabbath is to take a regular day off from our busyness and “work” to devote to God and our spiritual lives while we rest and reenergize ourselves. It reminds us how important it is to slow down so that our blessings can catch up to us. Sabbath is a gift from God that allows to reorient ourselves away from the demands of a culture centered on greed and power and renew our love and compassion for life.
Especially in this time when our world seems even more chaotic and our busyness continues around the clock seven days a week, it is important to take time to stop, rest, and open ourselves to the presence of the Spirit. It’s critical for our spiritual health to be able to renew our energy and make sure we’re on the right path in life, to take the time to ask “who am I” in this time and place. Sabbath time in our lives hopefully means regularly attending worship to be in community with other seekers so that we can support each other, but it might also mean spending time in prayer and meditation, taking walks in the woods, or even just finding quiet time to sit and let your mind go. Whatever you find reenergizing and spiritually uplifting might be part of your personal sabbath time.
Sometimes we may also need longer periods of rejuvenation. I thank the church for allowing me such an opportunity this year as I go on sabbatical from May through July. During this time I will be attending a couple of conferences as well as hopefully spending time traveling and doing reading and writing in addition to just resting as I engage that Sabbath question of “who am I?” This is also a time that the Phoenix Church Community might want to take some time to look for new energy and ask “who are we?” A time of sabbatical can be filled with excitement and anxiety, hope and fear, for both the pastor and the church but it is also critical for our spiritual health to take this time to stop and rest, letting the Spirit guide us as we look forward to a renewed ministry together post-sabbatical.
Whether we it be a Sabbath day or a longer period of Sabbatical, we all need to allow ourselves time to open ourselves to Spirit and heal from the chaos that constantly batters our souls. Never forget to slow down once in a while so your blessings can catch up to you.
(I originally wrote this short reflection for my church’s newsletter. It was inspired by my sermon from Sunday, January 29, 2017. The church’s website is http://www.phoenixchurch.org)