As summer ends and we enter into this busier time of year, Bishop Hughes encourages us to continue to find a way to claim some Sabbath time every week for rest, gratitude and joy. (Time: 4:01.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. Labor Day has come and gone, and though we are in a heatwave here in Northern New Jersey, the slower schedule of summer has also come and gone. And suddenly we are back into full schedules, all kinds of activities, and many places where we need to be most days of the week.
One of the things I want us to hold on to are the lessons that we learned in the Summer of Sabbath. I am not naive, I know that not everyone in this diocese, nor did every place in this diocese, participate in the Summer of Sabbath. But one of the things I asked us to do was to think about Sabbath this summer, to take things a little bit more slowly, and to think about dedicating time, to rest, to gratitude, and to joy.
There's a reason for all of that, a deep theological reason. And it's an important part of our growth spiritually. That is, when we are in the midst of Sabbath, when we have managed to get some rest, when we can see the things that we have to be grateful for, and when we've experienced that deep joy of doing things that we are meant to do, that we are created to do, that give us a sense of joy like nothing else. When all of those things come together, we also come to a place where we're able to know God more.
I can't help but think of that verse from Psalm 46: "Be still and know that I am God." There is this sense for us sometimes, it's stillness means absolute quiet, no movement in any direction. I would like us to hold on to Sabbath as our sense of what stillness looks like. That every week going forward, whether it's an hour, or an afternoon, or a morning and evening or a full day – and I recognize that for some people that seems almost impossible. But to declare a weekly piece of time as Sabbath, the time where you get a little bit of rest – even if it's just putting the devices away, or taking a nap – a time where you can think about the things that you are grateful for, the good things in your life that God has placed there, that you remain grateful for. And when you can participate in those things that bring you the greatest joy.
When we are still, when we are in Sabbath, when we have that strong sense that God is there, and that God has care for us and all the things that are important to us and matter to us, then we have the chance of becoming stronger in our faith, of having a sense of knowing what we are called to do in the midst of the busyness. That in every activity in some way, we are called to bring our faith into that activity – faith at work, faith at school, faith with your family, faith in the grocery store, faith when you're getting your car filled up with gas, faith as you're walking down the street – we are called to grow our faith and to live that faithful life. When we have that incredible sense of knowing God, knowing God, that all the things that we do are in some way to the glory of God.
So I encourage you no matter where you fall on the spectrum of Sabbath – that you got this, or you don't understand this, or you're somewhere in between – find the way to claim some time for Sabbath every week as we go into this busier time of year.