Saturday, July 11, 2009


Here is tomorrow's column for the church bulletin:

Frederick Buechner writes about Sabbath:

The room is quiet. You’re not feeling tired enough to sleep or energetic enough to go out. For the moment there is nowhere else you’d rather go, no one else you’d rather be. You feel at home in your body. You feel at peace in your mind. For no particular reason, you let the palms of your hands come together and close your eyes. Sometimes it is only when you happen to taste a crumb of it that you dimly realize what it is that you’re so hungry for you can hardly bear it.

Rest is not laziness. It is not unproductive. It is not a waste of time. Sabbath, rest, rejuvenation, reflection, restoration, recreation – it is a necessary part of a fruitful life. No exceptions exist to this rule.

About ten years ago, Amber and I were driving were driving 35 miles from the church I served in Spencer, Iowa to my mom’s house in Laurens, Iowa. I noticed a few miles into the trip that our gas tank was on empty. There were two small towns between Spencer and Laurens. I knew they had gas stations, but I didn’t know if they would be open in the evening. Gas station number one was closed. We never made it to gas station number two. My old 1981 Volvo 240 DL ran out of gas. She coasted off to the shoulder on the near deserted country roads. When a car runs out of gas we call it a crisis. When a person runs out of gas we call it normal.

The next day we try to work harder or smarter or longer or all three. Yet we still run out of gas. That is why God has a different plan. Instead of working harder and longer, He simply says rest: Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day. –Exodus 20:8-11

Go to the gas station. Get energized. Enjoy life. Spend time doing something you love. Spend time with somebody you love. Spend time doing nothing. Connect with yourself. Connect with others. Connect with God.

I want to share with you a promise of God when we take Sabbath seriously: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. –Matthew 11:28-30

In Christ,


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