Fridays are the closest thing I have to a Saturday. Being a pastor means that weekends are work time. But when things are relatively caught up (and ‘relatively’ is the operative term because there is always more that ‘could be done,’ if not ‘should be done’) Fridays can be a little slower. I spent the morning out on the back porch, enjoying the birds, the air and a couple of homemade Americanos with my wife, Kris, talking about impending school stuff, reading the paper, and pulling together loose ends of our service on Sunday at Jacob’s Well. Basically, mulling over and making sense of the different parts of my world, and doing it at the speed of life.
I’ve been getting a lot of input recently from many and various sources to make sure I have a sabbath (day of rest) each week. My question is “Why not two? Isn’t that what a weekend is?” But for now, one will have to do; I’m not very good at even taking that. A weekly sabbath isn’t just a nice idea, it’s essential. One of the deadliest enemies of a pastor is pumping out of the well when you aren’t putting anything in. I can’t imagine it is different for anyone.
So today there are a few tasks to take care of, but I spent the morning watching the dew shine on the grass, watching chickadees, cardinals, goldfinch and grosbeaks working over our feeders, sparrows washing in the bath, squirrels making the leap from the birch to the silver maple. I’ve still got the State Fair to go to this evening, a run around Lake Nokomis and some time with my family ahead. I think I’ll be ready for what’s next.
The point isn’t what I do on my sabbath, or even how long it is exactly, but what I don’t do and how open what I’m not doing allows me to become. To stop, or even pause, is a first step to unlearning. It permits different questions, priorities, perspectives to arise. It walks around the inside of the box I live in most of my week and kicks at the walls, almost always opening windows in some of them. I suppose it is pretty hard to not live in a box of some sort as long as there are windows to see out of.
Puts a whole new spin on “Honor the Sabbath, and keep it holy.” Exodus 20.8