rest

A weekly Rector’s Notes Article, April 1, 2019

Taking one’s sabbath time is a counter-cultural act. Our society today demands us to fill our time with work, with experiences, with Netflix binges, facebook status updates, and more. We are a consuming culture, not just of goods, but everything. From food to news to resources to each other, we consume constantly at all times. Sabbath challenges us to seek a different path, sabbath calls us to rest.

To take time for one’s self in rest in many ways has become an expectation in our culture. You HAVE to take time for yourself, why DON’T you spend 14 hours a week practicing mindfulness, getting a massage, doing yoga, and the like. Connecting to the spiritual is what sabbath rest is all about, don’t you know?!

Well, yes, but not in the way we have created a multi-billion dollar health and wellness industry around. If you truly feel connection to God through meditation, or practicing a faithful yoga, or any of the other activities du jour, that is fantastic, but no one should feel obligated to experience sabbath in this way. Sabbath rest is about restoration of self, to open yourself to the breath of God breathing new life into you, sabbath rest is about finding what connects you to the holy and making space for that.

So, how do we practice sabbath rest?

Perhaps you like to cuddle up with a good book and some good coffee. Perhaps you enjoy taking in a movie in the middle of the day alone (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, it’s wonderful). Perhaps live music feeds your soul, and speaking of feeding, perhaps it’s trying a new recipe in the kitchen that grounds you in the moment. Perhaps taking a morning to get out and connect with the beauty of creation is more up your alley. Whatever it might be, taking sabbath time should not feel like an obligation, it should be life-giving, it can even be exhilarating.

Sabbath rest is about rejuvenating yourself and only you know how that is done. I find for myself that it varies on the needs I have in a given week or even a given day. But, what I always come back to is knowing that I need a space for myself to do one thing that brings me joy, and that is how I am filled.

You can find rest alone, you can find rest with your family, you can find rest with 20,000 strangers at a music festival, what is important to note about this practice is that it is both personal and because of that, it is truly a counter-cultural practice because you have to rely on listening to yourself, listening to how you need to connect with God, so that you may be rejuvenated. This is a practice that by its very nature takes us out of the consumer culture we live in to focus inwardly and assess what we actually need in a given moment, shutting out what the world tells us we need.

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