Summer is winding to a close, before long. While we know that technically the season continues until the fall equinox, around September 21, summer feels like it ends at the end of August – or perhaps through Labor Day weekend. How has your Summer of Sabbath been? Have you had an opportunity to unplug, to reset, to step into the margins of your schedule a bit? Even if it’s just a day or a portion of a day – even a stolen brief hour or cluster of minutes – it makes a difference. I hope that you have had some time for rest, for refreshment, for reconnection.
Perhaps it has been a busy time for you, though, or there are people or systems who depend on you in ways that make it difficult to step away, even briefly. There is still time. Even when summer ends, our need for sabbath time continues, but we do still have at least two weeks to find opportunities to stop, take a breath, and do something restorative (sleep, read, play, sing, draw, travel – or just pause).
These in-between times of sabbath are like margins in our lives, the spaces that keep everything else in order. Sometimes we do draw our margins very thinly – or accept the thin margins that others have drawn for us – sometimes out of necessity, or at least what seems to be necessity at the time. Stopping and pausing helps renew those margins, review those margins, and can give us the chance to redraw our margins. Sabbath can be a constructive act towards wholeness and health, even though it may look like a nap, a break, a diversion.
Sabbath is also a witness to others that busy-ness and productivity are not the ultimate purposes of our life, of our calling. We are made in the image of God, who is loving, just, merciful, creative, life-giving, but also the one who rested on the seventh day and who calls us to rest, to reset, to be restored. God renews our own creation when we rest; God invites us to be made new. There is still time – there is always time – to find that sabbath moment.
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – Prayer for the Good Use of Leisure, BCP 825