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Walking the Sabbath Trail

A dozen tiny mosquitoes circle around me with their own demands as I trudge through a major project with a looming deadline. An even larger project lurks in the background awaiting its turn.

Sabbath. Photo by Tim Graves

My old-self, the one knee deep in workaholism and self-worth defined by doing, nags me, “Just keep working! You’re only worthy if you’re working. Rest is for whoosies!” I’m tempted to believe old-self. Old-self is forged from America’s harsh Puritanical religion, from a culture that values things over people, and money over joy.

I’m tempted to embrace our toxic culture. I’m tempted to remain at the keyboard until my shoulders ache and my brain ceases to function. But the Spirit reminds me that God desires joy for me. God desires that we rest in the midst of the hectic.

2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. Genesis 2:2 NRSV (Read in context.)

Too often we read this passage as our ticket to rest only after we finish our work–all of it! But the Genesis narrative is not about creating worlds before we’re worthy of rest. It is about taking time for rest in the midst of our work. God wasn’t finished creating before resting. This was but the first story in a sacred text filled with stories of God’s works. God still speaks to us. God still works in the world. God continues creating the loving realm that God desires.

To hear the voice of God, to feel the divine presence of the One blowing on our skin, and be the co-creators God desires us to be requires periodic rest. If we are made in the image of the One as the biblical witness tells us, then sabbath is as important as hard work. Sabbath is about rest and trust. Do we trust God that there will be manna enough for tomorrow, that the work will get done?

In the midst of a huge project and mosquito tasks, I choose to trust. I choose to walk the sabbath trail.

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