Friday, May 20, 2005


I called another pastor this morning. "Sorry," the secretary said, "she is not in today." "Oh, you mean the pastor takes a day off?" Yes!" the secretary replied, and then added a heartfelt, "Thank God!"

Because of the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday (about God creating and taking the seventh day off) there's been a lot of talk on one of the chat lists I belong to about'sabbath' - about doing it, honoring it, taking it. About how we "need" that time off, how we are "supposed" to take such a break. The conversation with the secretary this morning reminded me that sabbath is not only a break for us, but it is a break "from" us for other people.

Sabbath is a break for the people we work with, whom we often push when we are falling behind, whom we often blame when we are being criticized, whom we often forget when we are being recognized.

Sabbath is a break for the people we live with - when we are intentionally more patient than usual, when we are more loving than we normally show, when we are more focused on our spouses, children, and friends than we are on ourselves, our needs, our petty concerns.

Sabbath is a break for God, as well, when God sees us taking the time (whether it is an hour, an evening, a day) to truly be the people God dreamed of when God scooped up that clay off the floor of the earth, pottered into a familiar form and blew the Spirit into our lungs.

If I keep sabbath only for myself, I continue to be self-centered. If I give others a break from me, then sabbath becomes a gift for everyone, even God.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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