I have been in search of a consistent Sabbath day and I don't know where I'm going to find it! So I think I'm sourcing this to the internet hive mind. The day that I really want for Sabbath is Monday but on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, we have the Peacemaking Coordinating Team (PCT) meetings. Also, starting in two weeks, that is when my weekly meeting with the ministry team at Riverton Park UMC (RPUMC) will be. So scratch Mondays. Mondays was previously my Sabbath day.
Tuesdays has possibilities other than it is not Monday. Tuesdays has been my weekly meeting time at RPUMC and "in office" time there. It is also a great preparation day for planning worship, Bible study, etc. Wednesdays, I lead Bible study and spend time at Echo Glen detention center. Thursdays, maybe. But it doesn't feel like the right day like Mondays do. 🙂 Fridays have PCT circles. Saturdays are regular training and final worship preparations. Sundays, leading church at RPUMC and church at the detention center. Balancing two jobs is making me a little crazy.
And we arrive back to Mondays. I think the upshot is I need to block off Tuesdays. But I hate that I am losing Mondays. Boo, world, boo! But I also have to commit my whole heart, soul, and mind to blocking Tuesdays off and not falling into work but sitting in Sabbath. See, just typing it out and sharing it found the solution. But I admit, I am resistant to giving up Monday.
Sabbath has particular meaning for me. It means I am focusing on my relational growth through study, and spiritual practice. When I don't get Sabbath, I feel like my photo of the neglected labyrinth. The structure is still there. It is still usable. But it isn't easy to be with.
Susannah Heschel writes in the intro to Abraham Heschel's book, "The Sabbath":
Six days a week we live with a fury of acquisitiveness, he writes; Shabbat renews the soul and we rediscover who we are. “The Sabbath is the presence of God in the world, open to the soul of man.”
Abraham Heschel goes on to write:
We need the Sabbath in order to survive civilization: “Gallantly, ceaselessly, quietly, man must fight for inner liberty” to remain independent of the enslavement of the material world. “Inner liberty depends upon being exempt from domination of things as well as from domination of people. There are many who have acquired a high degree of political and social liberty, but only very few are not enslaved to things. This is our constant problem— how to live with people and remain free, how to live with things and remain independent.”
I confess to needing Sabbath. It is there that I renew my soul. Sometimes. And I really mean sometimes! Because at other times, it feels like it is not a renewal but a status quo. Like if this doesn't happen, I won't even be able to maintain sameness, much less renewal.
I am also seeking to interject Sabbath moments. There are times, like Saturdays, where I cannot take the full day for a Sabbath but I can sleep in. To that end, I've decided not to use social media on Saturdays. Which will preclude writing a daily practice. That helps not only my finding of Sabbath moments, but it helps my relationship with my hubs as we have a hard time finding the same days off. So I will declare Saturday mornings Sabbath moments for us! Hmm...can't wait to tell him.
Old Testament scholar and theologian, Walt Brueggemann, talks about Sabbath as resistance to production economics. Not just a resting, but resistance. Sabbath is a renewal that sits with justice seeking.
Do you have a Sabbath practice? A full day? Or Sabbath moments? How do you define Sabbath? What refreshes, renews, and uplifts you? How do you connect Sabbath to justice?
This week's practice brings music from Krzysztof Penderecki - his terrifying Threnody to the victims of Hiroshima, a poem from Wendell Berry from his Sabbath collection, sacred quote from Walter Brueggemann, and a photo from me. Along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition. And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out). Our prayers for this week focus on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.
Reminder: the Synchroblog event, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, will be occurring on September 24 at The Bardo Group Beguines. Along with live events and a Peacemakers for Change event in Tukwila, WA. Put it on your calendars! The coordination & communication hub is on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/100TPCHub/.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--yum
Krzysztof Penderecki - Threnody to the victims of Hiroshima
I chose this piece because it is exactly why we need Sabbath. It connects to the devastation of a production society along with the justice seeking component of Sabbath, in that, if we are to search for justice and mercy, we should stand against these moments. Sabbath gives us the strength to do that. I fully acknowledge this piece is hard to listen to. Just like it is hard to hear the horrors in our world today.
VII by Wendell Berry
What if, in the high, restful sanctuary
That keeps the memory of Paradise,
We’re followed by the drone of history
And greed’s poisonous fumes still burn our eyes?
Disharmony recalls us to our work.
From Heavenly work of light and wind and leaf
We must turn back into the peopled dark
Of our unraveling century, the grief
Of waste, the agony of haste and noise.
It is a hard return from Sabbath rest
To lifework of the fields, yet we rejoice,
Returning, less condemned in being blessed
By vision of what human work can make:
A harmony between forest and field,
The world as it was given for love’s sake,
The world by love and loving work revealed
As given to our children and our Maker.
In that healed harmony the world is used
But not destroyed, the Giver and the taker
Joined, the taker blessed, in the unabused
Gift that nurtures and protects. Then workday
And Sabbath live together in one place.
Though mortal, incomplete, that harmony
Is our one possibility of peace.
When field and woods agree, they make a rhyme
That stirs in distant memory the whole
First Sabbath’s song that no largess of time
Or hope or sorrow wholly can recall.
But harmony of earth is Heaven-made,
Heaven-making, is promise and is prayer,
A little song to keep us unafraid,
An earthly music magnified in air.
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being.”
― Walter Brueggemann
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up.
Focus countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
- Those who work to build bridges between various ethnic groups.
- Those who labour to rebuild economies shattered after the war.
- Those who refuse the rhetoric of hatred and fear.
- Wonderful beaches along the Adriatic coast.
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
- New governments and guidance for leaders.
- Displaced persons and refugees.
- An end to ethnic hatred and the establishment of human rights for all.
- Women who were raped during the wars.
- Healing and renewal in the faith communities.
- Those who mourn.
- Young people as they try to find a way forward.
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.