On Saturday, I had the idea of posting a follow-up to the previous week's Labor Day post and write about Sabbath to post on Sunday. But since I'd been busy from work all week, I hadn't had time to do housework and I became consumed with it all day. On Sunday morning, I woke up not feeling well, so I stayed home from church. At the time, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to write that blog. I got myself all settled in the windowsill (the best place to write, if you can't be outside) and started researching Sabbath. I wrote a few paragraphs here and there, but just couldn't seem to get my brain to catch up with me. I spent the whole day in front of that computer trying to will something interesting to happen and nothing did.
I don't know how I missed the irony while it was happening. There I was, trying to write a blog about Sabbath rest while blatantly ignoring my own need for it. That's why nothing was coming: I hadn't refreshed, so I had nothing to give.
For Lent this year one of my disciplines was No-Screen Sunday. On Sundays, I wouldn't watch TV or use my computer and I would only use my phone for phone calls. It was both the most difficult and the most rewarding of my Lenten disciplines. On the Sundays I was home, I would spend the day cooking, cleaning, reading and listening to records. And while all those things are lovely, it was a real challenge to cut out something that has become such an integrated part of my life. But setting aside a day to do things totally differently and take a break from my usual routine was refreshing. At the time, I likened it to a reset button.
Without giving myself a break from the steady stream of work, I had no time to reset. I'm like a computer that needs to be restarted because it's running really slow. I know you've all experienced it: that moment when you realize your brain capacity is maxed out and you are no longer able to do even the simple things. I was there on Sunday, but I ignored it. And the real trap is the idea that you're too busy to take a break. The truth is, we all work better when our heads are clear and our hearts are full.
As I was doing the research on Sunday, it occurred to me that it could seem as though Jesus did not value Sabbath. He was constantly rejecting the pharisees' laws about how to observe it and doing what he wasn't supposed to. It seems to me, though, that this is simply another example of Jesus' rejection of legalism. Sabbath had gone from a day God gifted us for rest and had been morphed into a day of rules and regulations. It was no longer about taking a break, but about conforming to rigid expectations.
But Sabbath, at its core, is a break from all that. It is a day when the rules and expectations of our usual life no longer hold any sway over us. It is a day when we can relax the grip that responsibility holds on us the other six days of the week. A day to unplug and restart. A Holy reset button.
So, I'm hoping to find a way to give myself the grace to take a break and hit the reset button this weekend. To remind myself that busyness is a symptom of not getting enough rest and not a road block to it. I hope you're able to do the same.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.