This is the third in a special series on Sabbath by guest blogger Rev. Dianne Lawhorn. Please read the first installment here and the second installment here. We offer these reflections in the hope that over the next weeks you will feel invited to deepen your own Sabbath practice. Check back next Monday to read the rest of Dianne’s thoughts on this important topic.
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What we are getting at here is the idea of embracing a new rhythm for life. Rhythms are a normal and natural part of our everyday lives. There is a rhythm of the day dissolving into the night. There is a rhythm of growth and dormancy in our landscape through the seasons. There is a tidal rhythm in the ebb and flow of the sea. There is a bodily rhythm in our waking and sleeping. At the heart of who we are is rhythm, as our hearts beat and then rest between each beat. This rhythm of activity and rest is something that is so very essential for us.
Author Ruth Haley Barton, writes about this in her book, Sacred Rhythms. She talks about discovering that some people arrange their lives to see sunsets. It becomes a part of their daily rhythm. She tells the story about embracing this practice for herself. She described rushing around, busy with errands one day, and realizing that she was going to be late for the sunset. Hearing her beach chair calling her name, she dropped all of the goods that she intended to buy and rushed to meet her sunset, to experience holy rest at last.
I simply love this idea of embracing as a spiritual practice watching the sun go down every night. I love the idea of scheduling your activities so that you don’t miss out on one of earth’s most beautiful rhythms. I’m sure for Ruth Haley Barton, her time in the sunset is time that she sets apart to sit in the presence of God. I’m sure it provides a relaxing and peaceful end to her busy day. This is a rhythm that she has embraced to include holy rest– not every month, or every week, but every day of her life. It’s a beautiful idea, isn’t it?
For most of us, it sounds great, but it isn’t something that we feel is very practical. But why can’t this kind of a “stop” be a reality for us, maybe not every day, but just one day a week? Are we really too busy for that? Have we lost this rhythm of life, the balance between work and rest forever?
What we are being invited into through Sabbath-Rest is a new rhythm. It’s a rhythm that God designed for our benefit. It’s a rhythm where we take a long, loving look at our Creator and leave the work up to God. It’s a rhythm where we stop, we become still, we notice, we celebrate our God, who is the source of all blessings. Only when we stop, will we really enter in to God’s rest. Only when we stop will we experience the recovery of mind, body, and spirit that we need. So, the question we are left with is- how do we do it, how do we make this kind of holy rest a reality in our lives?
Dianne is currently the Minister of Spiritual Formation for the Lydia Group which is a resource for spiritual wholeness offering formational teaching, retreat leadership, and spiritual direction.