Tuesday, May 20, 2008
How many times have I seen articles written to clergy on taking sabbath? I read them, or I hear a sermon in a seminary setting, or I hear a reminder from a friend. Then I go back to work.
This weekend I saw friends that I haven't talked to in years. Catching up included the question, "How many hours a week do you work?" When I replied, their response was, "Oh" spoken very sadly. There was no badge of honor for my extra hours. There was no competitive bid countered to ante up to my schedule. Just sadness.
It was a mirror for me to see the madness of life lived too much for work. Even work that is wonderful and fulfilling and needed. My friend just expressed sorrow in her, "Oh" that I am living that pace. Even sadder is, I am not alone. So many colleagues live similar lives that I wonder what are we doing? Are we actually helping anyone? Is this the way ministry should be?
It's like every article I've read on sabbath; we are poor models for our congregants and poor stewards of our time. And I haven't touched the observation of the fourth commandment. . .
One year ago on a study trip, we (five clergy women) took sabbath. The trip was a sabbath of sorts, but we also took a day of pure sabbath rest. It was just as refreshing as we preach it should be. The memory comes back to me this week while I'm on vacation. I've already done some work of necessity. I hope to really take sabbath the rest of the week, not just doing nothing, but creatively resting; restoring my body and soul, and finding times of worship.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." A worthy vacation goal - for me.