My husband and I try to observe Shabbat, or “Sabbath” on Fridays nights. Not because we’re Jewish, or because we wish we were, but because we love their understanding of Rhythm and the importance of Space in our crazy busy lives. To regenerate, to breathe deep, to stop, and taste, and See…to observe and receive the gift of rest that G-d gave us in the form of a commandment (because He knew how we would get- that it would take a command to get our attention-that left to ourselves we would burn a crash path through our days, like a plane without landing gear…) Instead, sustainably, He calls us to rest once a week. I love that. But it’s so HARD!!! (at first) I crave rhythm like I crave the Sacred.
Last week we went to a Greek Orthodox church. Not because we’re Greek, not because we want to become Orthodox. We went to experience the liturgy, the incense, the still and Holy Presence of something so “other-than” our day in day out routines that drain us as a people. We came home refreshed. I think that’s something unique to many of our generation who, if coming from an Evangelical background, had a very modern, very “liberated” church experience facilitated by our parents generation, who experienced a freedom breaking away from more traditional churches. Now here I am, in an echoing sanctuary, tearing up from the beauty of the lit candles, swinging censers, and sweeping architecture… I am familiar with small gatherings in rented elementary school gyms, modern and economical buildings, and fuzzy folding conference chairs. It’s a little easier to remember the Holiness of G-d in a cathedral than in an office facility, though I’m not saying one is more preferable than the other, it was just a refreshing perspective on something I already know in my heart.
So I guess observing the Rhythm of Shabbat helps preserve the Holy in my everyday. It helps me remember that we thrive as a people by stilling ourselves regularly, by taking our eyes off ourselves and turning them Heaven-ward, and by breaking bread together. How wise of the Father…
As this time of rest drew to a close, I remembered a special observation of Passover our community celebrated awhile back and I remembered that I wrote about it… Shalom!
“Last night I celebrated the Passover meal with a group of friends with which I live in community. There’s just something about the unleavened bread, wine, and sacrament that, upon walking into this holy moment, speaks loudly without having to break the sacred silence. Sitting down into the seat of this moment is like holding breath, but I almost missed it with my quick mouth and busy mind. As we started to center and gather ourselves from each of our four winds of life (mine being work, love, the future, and post-it notes), I realized how close I had come to driving right on through my friends’ sun-lit kitchen on my way to the next thought.”
What could possibly have been a more important meditation during that still moment than to dwell on the fact that salvation has come upon us? That the Israelites knew something was up, but they had no idea on the massive breadth of impact this evening held for their futures? That history repeated itself thousands of years later with striking precision? That the blood they brushed from the veins of a lamb would be replaced from the veins of a minority who was truly the King of humanity? And how we, now, in this greatly progressed 21st century, are just as belovedly bewildered as those Israelites and unaware as those disciples as to the time in history that we are in… Awaken my heart o Lamb- that I would watch and not miss Your still beauty in my busy ugly…”