Archives for October 2008

What Time Is It?

I can’t do 24/7. Not even 24/6. If I add in sleep, it’s more like 16/6, if I sabbath.

Before I started observing the Sabbath, I controlled my time tightly. Sabbath forces me into a circular rhythm, rather than an endless straight line. Morning and evening. Summer and winter. Round and round. The week waxes and wanes like the seasons, and asks me to join in the dance.

Autumn is turning my trees gold and russet and espresso. Winter will strip them bare. Then they will kelly up for spring. By the end of summer, they will look tired, ready for a cool rain.

So on the Sabbath, I notice the seasons of my soul, like I notice the trees. We are both moving through space, being changed in our rootedness. My Sabbath isn’t fixed, but is fluid, like time itself. I can’t grasp the tesseract — I can only step into the flow of eternity.

Sabbath is the day I ask, What time is it? and look out the window or in my heart for the answer.

Rules and Exceptions

Every time I try to make a Sabbath rule, I immediately encounter its exception. A few examples:

Thou shalt not go to the grocery store. Unless thou forgets the icing for decorating cookies with thy daughter. If, however, thou usest that trip to also buy eggs and bread, the eggs wilt be cracked, and the bread wilt go moldy unnecessarily early.

Thou shalt not watch a movie. Unless thy son begs thee to join him in trashing the latest Indiana Jones flick.

Thou shalt not listen to the radio. Unless it’s Car Talk. Jesus enjoyests a good laugh with Tom and Ray.

Thou shalt rise early to pray. Unless thy husband begs thee to sleep in.

Thou shalt attend a worship service. Unless thy mother needs thee.

Thou shalt not exercise. Unless thou needs a good run to clear thy head for worship.

Thou shalt not go out to eat. Unless thy grandmother is paying.

Thou shalt nap. No exceptions!

Have any rules and/or exceptions to add? I’d love to post them!


Today is Blog Action Day on the subject of poverty. So naturally, I ask myself, what would Jesus do about poverty on the Sabbath? A verse from Nehemiah comes to mind:

“Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”   Nehemiah 8:10

If this verse were a description of Sabbath (which it is not), it would include the people gathering together, hearing the Word, feasting, and sharing with the poor.

Wait, sharing with the poor? I hardly share with the middle-class! I’ve never sought out the poor to see that their needs are met on the Lord’s Day.

A true Jesus-Sabbath would include buying breakfast for a homeless person, letting them shower at my house while I wash their clothes, taking them to church, inviting them to join me and my closest friends for lunch, then bring the whole gang into my home for a board game. Oh, and if I were Jesus, I’d heal their diseases, even the ones brought on by sin.

That would truly be something. If I at least talked to one of the homeless people wandering around my church. If I bought them breakfast at McDonald’s, and in so doing, skipped church. I bet then I would go home rejoicing, knowing God as my strength.

What Sabbath?

Today isn’t the Sabbath. I don’t know what day is anymore. Ever since my mom’s cancer went aggressive at the beginning of this year, my weeks have been an unending river of days. Appointments change, complications arise. Not to mention that I still have kids with activities, and a job, and a husband with work demands.

At first I tried to make my Sabbath the day I visited her. It worked for a couple of weeks. I sang praise songs on the drive, and read to her while she got chemo. But after awhile, I didn’t want to sing on the drive. I didn’t want to sit with God at all. I truly enjoyed my time with my mom, then the next day, I’d crash and treat the Lord like we’d just had a fight. 

I’ve asked God about this, and He said it’s okay. I’m just exchanging one commandment for another: from Remember the Sabbath to Honor thy mother.

I do remember. I miss it. Soon I’ll miss my mom, too.

An Eeyore Sabbath

I met someone who doesn’t have a problem keeping Sundays slow. She is, shall we say, rather an Eeyore type of person – somewhere between gloomy and depressed, with a sprinkling of paranoia.

From what I gather, she and her family sleep a lot on Sunday. No one (not even the kids) can rouse themselves in time for a 9:00 AM church service. So they stumble in late, whenever they make it. Then, it’s out to lunch and home for a nap. In the evening they don’t do much more than sit around, watching t.v.

While this may not be the most spiritual Sabbath I’ve ever heard of, it’s infinitely more sane than what most Christians do, rushing around the church building all day. This past Mother’s Day, a friend was at her church from 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM (with a short break to cook lunch for her mother-in-law).

Maybe my depressed friend has the real goods. She says it isn’t easy to keep Sunday special.

“We have to work at it,” she told me.