June 2016

Renewal

 

It will be increasingly rare to know the value of a Sabbath-keeping community.  As churches close and we reckon what they did for us, we will long for their ancient wisdom and sacred voice. Today I am thinking of Deuteronomy 5:12-14—the “other” ten commandments.

Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord you God; you shall not do any work, -- you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave; or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 

Remarkable that even in the days of the Hebrews and Israelites, slaves rested—and were free for a time to reconsider their innate dignity—no one was meant to be a commodity for 24/7.

There is rest for the beast of burden so their bodies would not be broken or worn to the contour of their labor—something we cannot say for the worker in this land. Where else do we go for this perspective?

Sabbath practice is resisting the 24/7 life on the go America we live in.  I have long been reading Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poems—written on his Sabbaths for the past thirty years. I write some on my Sabbath.  This is one from years ago in one line to mimic the action in the poem:

a swinging branch back to its level Sabbath

It is a gift, this time of rest. Something in us snaps back, comes back to its proper place, we reset.

I am grateful for this time of renewal leave and I will see you September 1.   I will pray about how to best receive the gift of the leave this summer and I will return with more long and dreary blogs in the fall. I will miss you, but I will be thanking my lucky stars I am in a Sabbath-keeping community.

                                                                            the Sabbath

                                                                                fencing

                                                                                his garden