It occurred to me a few days ago that it's almost Lent. How did that happen?! Where have the past two months gone?! Wasn't it just Christmas? My tree is still up...
One of the things I'm trying to focus on as I slowly shift into a new way of viewing the Sabbath and adjusting my life to make it a more central practice is preparation. This can be... challenging. Procrastination is something at which I am relatively talented, and it extends to everything from doing my dishes and shredding my junk mail to writing sermons and catching up on correspondence. Being prepared - ahead of time?! - takes a little forethought.
Grocery shopping has generally become something relegated to Saturdays. I confess that since last Lent's discipline of using up the food in my cupboards before buying more, I have become very lax in my attitude and practice towards groceries. I have slipped back into "go to the store and get dinner" mode, instead of planning ahead to what I will eat later this week and shopping for it ahead of time. Cravings often dictate my shopping, rather than discipline. I am not okay with this. I have been - but I'm not. Especially in light of Lent, and in light of longing to experience true Sabbath rest and joy more fully.
Since my Sabbath is on Saturday, I need to find a way to do my shopping on another day. My goal is to have my first Sabbath meal (Friday night) ready and waiting at the end of the day - no preparation required, just coming home and sinking into Sabbath the way you sink into slumber at the end of a good (but long) journey - with joy, relief, celebration, anticipation, and contentment. This past weekend, it just barely happened. I gave up my plans to make a big long trip to the grocery store at which I really ought to be shopping, and spent a lot more money at a closer store buying mostly just what I needed. Dinner went in the crock pot at 11:00am - it was ready by 7:30pm. An hour late, but hey, it's a start, right? ;-) And it was amazing. But shopping on Friday morning felt like the fine art of procrastipreparation. I knew all week I need to shop. I could have dragged myself off the couch and to the store in the middle of the week, but I didn't. I was tired, and I was lazy.
This week, I will not procrastinate in my preparations. I'm actually putting it on the calendar. Tuesday, 7pm: Go grocery shopping. With a list.
Why start with food, on this journey towards keeping the Sabbath better? Well, Sabbath is a celebration - a celebration of the goodness of creation, the creativity of our amazing God, and the beauty of redemption. All good celebrations should involve some sort of a feast - and on the Sabbath, traditionally celebrated by God's people as the "queen" of all days - we should be eating the best meals of the week. Healthful, extravagant, shared.
I'm working on building a balanced schedule of sharing that first Sabbath meal with friends versus simply sharing it with Jesus. And with Lent coming up, it's time (again) to give up all those foods that don't help me at all and to move into a more healthful style of living anyway. So here's to giving up the fine art of procrastipreparation in favor of planning for the Sabbath, and a more healthy lifestyle in general.
i realize there's a bit of irony in using the compound adjective "adjective-defying" to describe my experience this weekend... but i'm not sure there really is just one word that would work. "awesome" doesn't quite touch it - tho it's close.
i went "home" this weekend. home to a place where i now know very few people, home to a place that still brings me so much comfort and safety just by being in it. i cheered (literally, out loud) when i crossed the Michigan border, and i kid you not, at one point about an hour later, i suddenly realized that i'd been grinning like an idiot for awhile... :)
i spent two glorious days in a luxury, eco-friendly hotel.
i ate - and ate - and ate! - amazing food: scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes, rye toast, flatbread pizza LOADED with feta and kalamata olives, chicken corn chowder, minestrone, fish and chips.
i had red wine and orange juice and hot buttered rum (my favorite espresso drink at the best coffee shop in the world). i had an amazing cup of french-press coffee.
i spent time with two dear friends i haven't seen in years.
i worshiped with them and with some other friends at a church that has grown astronomically since the last time i was there.
i listened to beautiful music - classical, pop, worship, Irish (in the Irish pub where i had the fish and chips), and folk.
and i read. an entire book. cover to cover. and it changed my life. is changing. will change.
there are no words that could ever completely describe these two days spent doing all these amazing, blessed and life-altering things with the Lord - but here are a few that just begin to get at it:
beautiful. wonderful. tough. amazing. unexpected. lovely. abundant. peaceful. right. true. dangerous. blessed. intimate. challenging. restful. pure. long. short. (far too short.) lonely. communal. lush. restorative. informative. formative. social. sweet. transformative.
i'm sure there are others that describe it as well.
i hope to be able to unpack some of it over the next few weeks. stay tuned.
and in the meantime: go buy yourself a copy of Dan Allender's Sabbath... i won't tell you that it will change your life. but it did change mine. and it's a good book.