Give Yourself (and Others) a Break!

sabbath

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough of you to go around?

I begin my morning by reaching over and grabbing my cell phone off the nightstand, so that I can see what I need to do. I watch people running from place to place to place – trying to juggle their schedule at work with their commitments to their children, while trying to take care of aging parents as the grass on their front lawn continues to grow. I recently asked a group of teenagers, “How many of you would like to tell your parents that you just need to stop once in a while?” – and every hand at the table went up. How many of you have convinced yourselves that you’ll have all the time in the world to do the things that you want to do when you retire? But, what if you don’t have enough energy to do those things, or the gift of good health, when you retire?

This week’s message, “Give Yourself (and Others) a Break!”, calls us to stop and to think about the Sabbath. The Sacred Story tells us that God created the Sabbath after being busily invested in the all-consuming and exhausting work of Creation. The Sacred Story tells us that God created the Sabbath because we live in a world where we don’t allow ourselves to stop, and because we live in a world where other people don’t allow us to stop either. The Sabbath is a time to be filled and sustained with God’s gifts. God created the Sabbath as a time of healing – even though other folks don’t often think about the fact that we need God’s healing and restoring power in our lives.

But the Sabbath wasn’t just given to us. The Sabbath is also a gift that we can extend to other people. What would life look like if we began to realize that life is about more than an endless list of chores and obligations? What would life look like if parents began to realize that young people need to stop as much as they do – and if young people could see that their parents sometimes need to stop running, too? What would life look like if we began to realize that other people can’t always pick up the ball and run with it every time we decide that we don’t want to do something anymore? What would life look like if we built our society upon the premise that God has given the gift of the Sabbath to everyone; and that people who are working two, three, or even four jobs to make ends meet, need to be paid high enough wages to be able to stop and rest, too?

The Sabbath is a gift that allows us to break-away from our busy routines, but the gift of the Sabbath is also an issue of justice. “Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. On in you shall not do any work – you or your son or daughter, your male servant or female servant, your ox or donkey or livestock, or even the traveler who is within your gates – so that they may rest just as you do.” (Exodus 20:10-11)

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough of you to go around?

If you just answered “Yes!” to that question, you’re in good company. “The Sabbath was made for people,” Jesus once said (Mark 2:27). Don’t we all need to shift gears once in a while for the sake of our own health and well-being? Don’t we all need to remember that we live in a world where we can feel like there’s not enough of us to go around – because we never allow ourselves to step off of the running treadmill – and because we don’t allow other people to do it either?

2 thoughts on “Give Yourself (and Others) a Break!

  1. Thanks so much for this post! There is good reason for the commandment to Honor & Keep the Sabbath — and when I feel overwhelmed with all there is to do — is just the time I need to accept the gift of God. Very thoughtful!

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