Preparing for Worship – Abbey Adcox.
I have a complicated relationship with rest. Don’t get me wrong, I love curling up with a good book on a lazy Saturday morning or taking a nice cozy nap on Sunday afternoons. I love choosing to rest. Unfortunately, more often than not, rest is imposed upon me by a body that is frequently fatigued and experiencing some measure of pain. Instead of being a restorative reprieve, rest becomes an imposition.
Maybe you have a complicated relationship with rest, too. Maybe your body feels as if it is working against you, or your spirit is wounded or grieving. Maybe you are overwhelmed by society’s messages of constant productivity or are exhausted simply trying to keep up.
The second stanza of our hymn, Creator God, You Made the Earth, reminds us that the Sabbath is a gift from our God, woven into God’s plan of creation. Sabbath is more than merely rest. Richard Rohr has said, “Sabbath might be saying that at least one-seventh of life must be about non-performance and non-egocentric pursuit, or we forget our life’s purpose.” Non-egocentric pursuit, maybe even justice.
Dr. Leila Ortiz, bishop of the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, preached this past weekend as part of the Evolving Faith conference. She pointed us to the woman Jesus healed on the Sabbath in Luke 13 — bent over, unable to straighten for 18 years. Dr. Ortiz wondered how many gut punches this woman had endured from society. From her neighbors. From those called to care for her. I wonder how hard she was on herself. How often she may have berated her own lack of productivity or acceptability. And then on the Sabbath, Jesus healed her. Jesus declared her set free. Whole. The Sabbath was indeed holy and just.
Each of us needs a bit of healing and wholeness of our own. A Sabbath from what Dr. Ortiz calls “creating narratives that do not lead to healing.” May today’s Sabbath meet you where you are, whether it is in physical rest, emotional healing or in remembering your life’s purpose.