lenten journeys: rediscovering sabbath rest

Over the past couple of years, the rhythm of my life has changed frequently. A little less than two years ago, I was leading worship at another church on Sundays. A year ago, I wasn't going to church at all. Now I'm... well, I don't really have a title, but I do stuff for Torch.

Finding Sabbath rest in the varied rhythms of each of these three seasons has looked a little different. Two years ago, I think I sort of took a Sabbath on Saturdays, and once a month, tried to take a whole afternoon as a "Geneva Day." Last year, being temporarily "unchurched," I generally had all day Sunday, and was pretty serious about making that a Sabbath day. Now, being very churched on Sundays (and often several evenings per week), I've been pretty disciplined about taking a Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night. I don't do it perfectly. Occasionally I sneak in a few emails and whatnot - but I do try really hard to make sure I have a large chunk of time that I'm not doing church stuff, and am intentionally resting, reading, reflecting, relaxing, etc. I spend time with friends, I watch movies, I cook dinner. It's nice.

Yesterday... yesterday, I did not do that. Yesterday I woke up, turned on the computer, and started catching up on a lot of administrative whatnot that I've been putting off, partly because I knew it was going to time-consuming and I didn't have time to get it done, and partly because I tend to procrastinate. I spent probably a good eight hours of my day yesterday getting stuff done that I needed to get done. I also talked to my mom, and watched the Olympics, and had dinner. I'd been up late on Friday, and toward evening, I began to get a little crabby because I was tired, but I caught a second wind and got back to work, and the evening ended up being really fun, rehearsing for what turned out to be a really good service this morning, and building a slideshow. It was fun and creative, worshipful even, and I went to bed tired, but happy - and feeling rested.

How did that happen? Is it possible that, while not keeping the Sabbath as I usually do, I didn't completely break it either? I'm not sure. There are all kinds of legalistic arguments running through my head on both sides of the issue. But here's what I know: I had a lot of stuff hanging over my head that really needed to get done, and it's done now, and I can relax and not worry about it anymore. I had an early and busy, but super-worshipful and fun day today, and then I got to come home and watch a movie and have some tea and blog for awhile, and today - for all that I "worked" in the morning" has been a super-restful day, at least internally. Yes, I'm tired. I can also go to bed early, because all my stuff is done.

So which day was my Sabbath? Yesterday, when I stayed home and got stuff done, but didn't have to go anywhere and was able to spend half the day in my pjs drinking tea and being productive? Or today, when I had to be out the door early and serve at my church, but spent quality time with people and had some down-time too?

I have no idea. Maybe they were both a bit of Sabbath and a bit not. But as I wrestled with guilt over not being lazy yesterday, I went back to what Jesus said to the Pharisees about Sabbath-keeping. No, my inbox wasn't a sheep in a pit that needed to be rescued. But honestly - I kind of felt like a sheep in a pit, and that pit is way less deep now than it was at midnight on Friday. I'm not intending to make a habit out of making Saturdays my catch-up days. As a matter of fact, next Saturday I am sleeping in, going to the grocery store (with a list), and meeting my friend Eric for coffee at a book store. (And by "coffee", I mean a soy chai tea latte.)

But for this week - well, as Jesus reminded the Pharisees, the Levites broke a lot of Sabbath laws. They had to, to do their jobs. God knew how much I needed a day just to plow through and get my stuff done, and while far from lazy, it was a really good day - and so was today.

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