Most of us grew up with an idea that sabbath is synonymous with Sunday, and by further association, attendance at worship. It should be no surprise that this is an artificial construct of the church, something that permeated American civil culture quite thoroughly, even though fewer and fewer people are regular church attenders. Think of the closed stores and government offices, and “blue laws.” The “holy day,” dedicated to God and reflection, differs across traditions – Saturday in Judaism, Friday for Muslims. There are special rest days in Buddhism and in indigenous cultures like the Cherokee.
The “what,” “how,” or “when” of sabbath are less important than knowing we must make intentional space for the Spirit of God to work in our lives. She is not just supposed to get stray, leftover moments. If that time for you is church, wonderful! Welcome to community! If it is (as a friend says) worship at the Church of the Bicycle where the world goes by at just the right speed – also good. Breathe deeply, feel your body and give thanks. If it is meditation under a redwood tree or on the beach, if it is playing with a small child, rejoice!
Sabbath for me was a hike in the Berkeley hills; cool, still air; soft fog; odd paths snaking between unfamiliar streets; lichen-covered rocks; homes and gardens I don’t see every day; an overloaded lemon tree; purple iris like those in my childhood backyard; plants I did not even recognize. Growing things giving thanks for the patina of raindrops, and in each of those tiny beads was reflected the face of the Divine. There in the trees, I talked with Jesus, and I saw and gave thanks for all of you. Thank you for the blessing of this day.