Friday, July 15, 2011

Just beyond our busynes

Last Sunday night at The Well, we had a discussion about the role of Sabbath in the biblical story and in our lives today. Sabbath is about more than physical rest, it's about reflection and re-orienting ourselves to the ways of God. In The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan describes how, by observing Sabbath, we discover the rest of God - yes, rest from work, but also that rest of God that can only be experienced when we stop our busyness.

I am not good at Sabbath. I am often so consumed with my to-do list that instead of stopping, I move on quickly to the next thing on my agenda. This week has been a great example - I have had multiple meetings, conversations and surprise encounters. Yes, it was a busy week, but when I stopped to reflect, I was reminded of its richness and I began to feel full.

This week began with a meeting with my Clearness Committee, a group of friends that take time from their busy schedules to guide me through a discernment process. It was not an easy hour, but it brought self-awareness, focus and courage. This week also brought several occasions for me to sit with struggling Springfield neighbors who have lost hope due to financial hardship. I heard first hand of programs and people that are doing their best to find real solutions for these individuals. This week also brought an important vision team meeting, dinner and great conversation with a long-time friend, encouraging emails, and unexpected offers for help with our upcoming back-to-school event...and, it will end with a much needed day with my girls and the much anticipated homecoming of Kevin tonight! There have been low and high moments, but when I stop, I am made aware of a depth and richness that is both present in the busyness, and yet surpasses it. I sit speechless at the overwhelming sense of the divine and mysterious Presence that has sustained and stirred without my notice.

These moments of Sabbath are invaluable to us as human beings, and to us as faith communities. At The Well, we have been having potluck and Bible study on Sunday nights for 4 months now, but for the next 3 weeks we are breaking from our routine. This Sunday, we are taking a walk around the neighborhood. It's about having fun, getting to know one another, getting a little exercise (all those potlucks can take a toll) and it's also about becoming more aware of our surroundings. As we walk, we'll be challenged to become more mindful of that which we rush past every day. I hope these next few weeks will be a good starting point for considering ways to build Sabbath time into the rhythm of our life together. Walks and picnics in the park help us to see and encounter the rest of God, the part that we miss in our routine and sometimes repetitive activity, the part that lies just beyond our busyness.

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