Every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary.
Other services may include:
Funerals and Memorial Services
Baby Dedication Services
Last month I wrote from the mountainside in New Mexico about the joy of solitude and Sabbath. Ironically, less than a week ago, I ran across an opinion piece in the N.Y. Times, written by contributing writer, Margaret Renkl, entitled, “What if the Real Act of Holiness Is Rest?”
She tells of spending time with her great-grandmother, “Mother Ollie”, a devout woman, who grew up Baptist but worshiped with the Methodists as there was then only one church in her town. Ms. Renkl remembers asking Mother Ollie for help with a tatting project one Sunday afternoon. She writes, “All these years later, I think about the heartache it must have cost my great-grandmother, the one whose bedroom I shared whenever the house was full, to disappoint a child she loved so much. But that day she could not help me with my needlework. “Not today, honey,” she said. “The Lord tells us not to work on the Sabbath.” And handwork, by definition, is work.”
For most, if not all of us, Sunday is no longer a day of rest. There is always something to do after church, if you even manage to make it to church; catching up with work, meetings, email, housework, and on and on. Resting has taken on, in our frenetic culture, an almost slothful overtone that leaves us feeling somehow “less than” if we do manage to even sit for a while.
We like to blame our busyness on modern times, as if our ancestors had all the time in the world for Sabbath. Renkl points out the folly in that thinking. “But it’s not as though the world stopped on Sunday in Lower Alabama, either. The crops — and the weeds — in my grandfather’s fields continued to grow, whatever the day. My grandmother still had papers to grade and lessons to plan. The peas in the bushel basket on the back porch would not shell and can themselves. Nevertheless, my people put their work aside on Sunday to nap on the daybed or sit on the porch and rock. They didn’t ask themselves, as I do, whether they could “afford” to rest. God obliged them to rest, and so they did.”
It is one thing to consider the commandments from God somehow mythological and quaint; suggestions that we might or might not follow. It is quite another to not recognize, at all, the ancient wisdom found in the Biblical writings that we hold as sacred as we continue to run ourselves into the ground, mocking the notion of Sabbath as not for our time and impossible, even if we desire a measure of much needed rest.
The truth of the matter is, when I look around me I see too many cases of utter exhaustion on people’s faces. I notice attitudes devolving into anti-social behavior and an absolute lack of tolerance for opinions other than our own. I believe our extremely divisive society to be, in part, due to our collective inability to take time to simply sit and ponder the great questions before us; to take some rest from the talking (yelling) heads who only jab at our emotions.
Renkl does observe “There are many, many people for whom this kind of Sabbath is not an option. People who work double shifts — or double jobs — just to make ends meet, truly can’t afford to rest”, but that most of us could reorganize our lives if we tried. We could focus on priorities, spend less time on things that matter little and make more time for those that matter most. She points out that many of us have reached well past middle aged without feeling any obligation to sit still.
In the past I’ve written articles on Sabbath as something that would be good to try. More and more I’m believing that Sabbath, whether on Sunday or some other day, or even if not a full day, is not just good, but is actually critical to our long term sanity and survival.
Maybe that’s why it made it to God’s top ten list? Give it some thought, won’t you?
See you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,