This past Sunday, I reflected on rest, or perhaps more specifically a spirit of restfulness to which God invites us. The challenges before any of us in seeking this are significant. Not only are is everyday full of “time-traps” that draw us into unhealthy busyness, but our hearts and minds are often prone to wander away from what matters most.
God’s invitation to restfulness is connected but distinct from the practice of Sabbath. The first describes a way through which each us can approach life and its flow. However, we should note that Sabbath is a day, built into a 7 day routine, allowing for a pattern work and then rest from it.
I imagine that most of us who have been familiar with church associate the Sabbath with Sunday, connecting it with worship and being present with church family. This is true, but more is at work here, and the Sabbath day doesn’t have to be on a specific day. Personally, I helps me to practice Sabbath outside of Sundays.
Sabbath is not about legalistically reserving time slot in your week to show up to church. Rather, it is about establishing practices of rest as the climax of the week. Instead of Sunday actions being about ritual, what if instead you could shape whatever day you would like to approach as your Sabbath as the best day of your week.
What would you do if you approached Sabbath this way? Hear this more as me planting the seeds for further conversation. That said, I want to list four principles for you to consider about what is intended for the Sabbath.
1. Sabbath as stopping from work, worry and want.
2. Sabbath as resting
3. Sabbath as delighting
4. Sabbath as worship Pray about how God would like you to rest with him during the week.
How can the day you call Sabbath, not only be the best day of the week, but the day you truly live from?
Every week is pressed for time. Time does not just fly—it jettisons from one point to next at the blink of an eye.
This is a list of church-related things. I imagine you have your own list when you look back on your week. For some of us, maybe this was a slower week. For others, a lot more happened than you might remember.
If you’re rushed or tired, it’s good to note all that you’re doing. Not everything could have been done this week as you would’ve liked, nor did God intend for you to do it all.
We are called to be faithful in both a calling and time sense. A loving-God-and-others kind of faithfulness is about embracing a way of life that involves rest as you go and peace beyond our circumstances.
The following Wendell Berry quote reminds me of what sustains us when it seems the ‘dark’ shrouds our vision, or perhaps when our busyness overruns us. “Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery” (Hannah Coulter).
Reflect on the week.
Thank God for the good.
Prepare for what’s next.
My prayer is that God’s love will carry you in the flow of life that is before you, loving beyond what the schedule says you should do this week, loving as the Spirit leads you from the Father’s heart.
When one part of the Body suffers, we all suffer. The news from last week about the discovery of a mass grave of indigenous children is horrific. This tragedy, involving an unspeakable loss of life, breaks our hearts.
When I came to Canada, I regret to admit that the horrors and abuse that took place in Canada through the residential school system were news to me. My ignorance to this history, not to mention the continued experience of pain and injustice that has become synonymous with being Indigenous in Canada, has led me into some heartbreaking and meaningful conversations with others in our community. Perhaps you have been blessed by these too.
No matter how many conversations we’ve had, or books we’ve read, or videos we’ve watched, the journey of seeking healing and reconciliation for Indigenous people is less about righting any specific wrong, but about assuming a grace-filled posture of lament.
Aubrey Sampson describes lament in this way: “Lament, meaning a crying out of the soul, creates a pathway between the Already and the Not Yet. Lament minds the gap between current hopelessness and coming hope. Lament anticipates new creation but also acknowledges the painful reality of now. Lament helps us hold onto God’s goodness while battling evil’s evil at the same time.”(Aubrey Sampson, The Louder Song, Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament)
Someone told me this past week that sometimes it is easier for us to believe in God than to accept that such evil has and does exist in the world.
We must resist avoiding conversation about hard things, because if we do we will also be less able to embrace the good.
We must continue to call evil evil. This is wrong, and will always be wrong.
We must hold fast to our hope in Christ at all times and in all seasons.
The first question that may come into your mind is how do I respond this pain now?
There are leaders in our community who have been praying about how we can respond through grace and lament. We can do our best to walk with them in this journey of seeking hope and reconciliation. There will be opportunities this summer and over the course of this year. Join in with these moments, however uncomfortable they might be—not because this discovery in Kamloops is the first of its kind, nor will it be the last, but because prayer and action is needed.
Lament is the crying out of the soul for what we know is not meant to be. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
To read a response from the CRCNA to the discovery in Kamloops and to consider resources for action, go here.
To read an article about Lament from Aubrey Sampson’s book, go here.
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