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What does summer Sabbath look like for you?

Bishop Carlye Hughes

It’s been a busy program year, says Bishop Hughes, and as she did last year, she reminds us to take some Sabbath time this summer to rest, nourish ourselves, and allow God to restore us. (Time: 5:03.)

Video Transcript

This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. It is the middle of June, and we are within touching distance of the end of the program year. But even if I didn't know the date, I could tell you we're near the end of the program year. Wherever I go, whomever I'm talking to, whether it's laity, deacons, priests or bishops, everyone I talk to is quick to share how tired they are. Tired because they have been working hard, whether their work is in the church or outside of the church. They've been working hard within the church. They've been working hard within their families. It's been a very full and a very good year. So I am not surprised at all that people are tired.

This year in our diocese has been wonderful in many ways. We've got people that have been working really hard at learning and spending time thinking about what it means to grow faith, whether it's your own or somebody else's faith, or the faith within your church. We have churches, both large and small, taking seriously the invitation to be in collaboration with each other, joining together to either learn something together, do ministry together, support each other, support and pray for each other in each other's ministries. We've got, as usual, large numbers of people who were confirmed this year or received into the Episcopal Church. Ordinations carried on like they have all throughout pandemic, before and after. It has just been a full and wonderful year, full of all kinds of blessings and full of gatherings. Gathering the way in which we like to gather. This year is the first year since 2019 that all of our churches were able to do exactly what they had planned for Holy Week and Easter. That is something to celebrate. And we hit the end of this program year and we're tired.

It makes sense that people are tired, and the thing to do when you're tired is to take a rest. Last year, I declared the entire summer in our diocese to be a summer of Sabbath, and there were people who took that seriously, and there were people who ignored it, and people who were proud to tell me that they had taken no time off, and I can tell you they went into September tired. But this piece of taking Sabbath is not just about addressing the tiredness, it is about caring for ourselves and for each other in the way in which God wants us to care for ourselves. God has given us the gift of life, given us the gift of relationships and our intelligence and our experiences and all of the wonders that we are joyful about and the challenges in our life, and continues to walk with us. And God gave us all of those things, asking us to take care of them. That's what stewardship means. God expects us to be the steward of those things, including ourselves, including our own health and well being. So when I say, make sure you take some Sabbath time, I don't necessarily mean just click off from everything. I mean take care of yourself.

What do you need during the Sabbath? Most of us still need to be around friends and family. Most of us still need to be around our community of faith. But how do we do that in ways that are less pressureful. Can we all get together for a potluck or a picnic, rather than having one person do all the planning? Can we read a book together or watch a movie together, rather than one person having to put a lesson plan together? How do we share together this time of relaxing with each other, rather than remaining in this kind of high pressure need to get the next program or the next event up and on its feet.

It is summer, and most of our schedules will be somewhat easier, and I invite you during this summer to review what Sabbath looks like for you. It is a spiritual practice like every other and I hope that in addition to thinking about how you spend your time, that you also think about nourishing yourself and allowing God to restore you. This is something we see Jesus do in the Gospels, every time he goes out for ministry, we see Jesus go back to a quiet place.

I am hoping your quiet place is full of blessings, that it's full of laughter and that it is full of rest, and that you come back in September restored and ready to serve God and God's people.

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