Pastor’s Page for July

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Like a path through the forest, Sabbath creates a marker for ourselves so, if we are lost, we can find our way back to our center.” ―Wayne Muller, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives

Keeping Sabbath is not easy in our culture. We certainly don’t maintain a common day of rest. In the midst of the demands and expectations all around, it’s hard to give ourselves permission to stop, even when we know we need it. Yet, in his book Sabbath, Wayne Muller insists that Sabbath time is essential to life and health. The experience of weekly Sabbath mirrors the rhythm of daily wakefulness and sleep or the rhythm of breathing in and out.  A central meaning of Sabbath is “rest.” On the seventh day of creation God rested to enjoy all that was made. In Deuteronomy, furthermore, the people of Israel are called upon to keep the Sabbath as a remembrance that they are no longer slaves. They are commanded to take time each week to enjoy their freedom and the fruit of their labor and to remember that all is God’s gift. The focus on Sabbath in worship a few weeks ago challenged me to look again at the pace and schedule of my typical week. I struggle to maintain a day for rest and reflection. My to-do list is always longer than what I can accomplish, so a day off from work expectations easily becomes a day to catch up on my list of unfinished obligations. To stop and rest can feel almost uncomfortable. Instead, I am tempted to fit more and more activities into all the gaps. The resulting loss of Sabbath time means that I lose space and time for reflection and for asking the important questions that give perspective to my action. For many of us, the summer provides a unique opportunity for rest. The warm weather invites play outdoors, and many plan their vacations during the summer. I invite you to embrace whatever opportunities you have yet this summer to relax, go on vacation, or get away with your family. Give yourself permission to rest, to reflect, and to be renewed. Remember that all is God’s gift! Take the time to consider what Sabbath means to you. How might a renewed commitment to regular Sabbath time help you to see your life in a new light?

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