Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sabbath Sharing



Sunday evening we gathered together to reflect on our first ever sabbath rest weekend. I was nervous as I drove to the church - our first Saturday service had been a bit rough and clumsy, and I didn't know how people would be feeling after the whole congregation skipped church on Sunday.

I walked into the room and immediately sensed something in the atmosphere about the way people were engaged with each other. There was a tangible spirit of peaceful joy about the place. No exaggeration. People trickled in and added their pans and covered dishes to the bounty lined up on the counter, and joined the circle where others were already gathered talking with one another.
We started sharing what our day had been like - everyone had felt strange about it. It was strange NOT to go to church.  For some it was more difficult than others.  But the other strange thing about the day was that it did not feel like other days, there was something different about THIS day. Then the stories started coming - listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir together while the sun came up, coffee and a book on the front porch, a long drive singing along to Vivaldi with spirit soaring, a breakfast reunion with a beloved but estranged relative, a meaningful conversation with a coworker, unexpected time alone in the car with a kid all grown up, long walks around the lake, instead of cleaning and sorting, visiting the butterflies and garden exhibits, forgoing laundry for a destinationless stroll with happy dogs, biking in the sunshine and breeze, rediscovering the sacrament of napping...

As the stories unfolded, so did the growing awareness that the feeling was similar for all of us. This day was different. It was richer, more intentional, more meaningful. Even in its awkwardness, and the unknown of how to enter, it turned out to be a special day. God met us each and met us altogether.

We also realized that part of what made it so is that although we were separated from one another, we were connected to each other all over the city doing the same thing - being. On purpose. Being open, being human - instead of doing busy or doing work. And sharing our stories was a reminder that we are connected, that what we do certainly does not have to be done alone - "Come and have coffee on my porch with me next time," one person said. "Next time we should have breakfast together!" another excitedly suggested.

What started out as an idea is becoming an experience.
We are beginning to learn and discover what it means to live in sabbath rest, as a community and as individuals. We are all in in this together! And on Sunday night we were delighted and surprised to discover that even though we SAID we believed God would meet us in this space we've created, God actually DID meet us, separately and together.
We rejoiced and then we ate, and we left feeling connected and fed.



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