'If you treat the Sabbath as sacred and do not pursue your own interests...you will find the joy that comes from serving me.' (Isaiah 58: 13-14)
As a youth in a conservative religious home the Christian Sabbath was dedicated to observing a strict code of no work, no sports, no playing cards, or basically no fun on Sunday. Nothing but Sunday School, worship in the morning and evening and rest: quiet and forced. There were a lot of rules!
As I left for Peru January 14 with my sister Pauline it was with an anticipation that the wonderful month of exploration, of warmer weather, of visiting the Amazon and the mountain ranges would be a time to listen to my body, my emotions, and God's Creation.
A rest and change of pace.
A time for deeper listening.
A rebooting for my body, mind and spirit.
An experience of the balance between loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbour.
Sabbath is the possibility of disconnecting from work, stress, the everyday demands on time and energy and of refocusing on what is essential. And finding that quiet centre deep inside oneself, the realigned motor of inner peace that lets one face any and all challenges. There is a joy that comes when our personal interests are in sync with those that come from service to God, and the at times elusive balance between them.
Sabbath is an invitation every day, every worship and prayer experience, every time we gather as a people of faith to listen for God’s still small voice, only heard when we are silent.
When I return to a move to a new home, a relocation after so many years in Montreal and the same house in Notre Dame de Grâce, I hope to feel rejuvenated and ready for new experiences. I hope to be focused on what is essential and leads forward into this new year.
When I return from this away time I will pack as much sunshine into my luggage for the return trip and share it with all of you.
This is my sabbath hymn I carry with me, written by Shirley Murray (VU 374):
Come and find the quiet centre in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed.
Clearing chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.
Silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us, knows our being, face to face,
making space within our thinking, lifting shades to show the sun,
raising courage when we’re shrinking, finding scope for faith begun.
See you soon,