Dan and I take the Sabbath seriously. Our weeks fly by in a flurry of activity, people, serving and encouraging others as best we can. But we rarely let anything or anyone encroach on our day of rest. On Sunday morning we no longer go to a physical building for church. We have reached a season in our lives when we feel we can worship more effectively taking the Sabbath in the way it was intended. On the seventh day, God rested (Genesis 2:2-3). Culturally we are (typically) taught that on the seventh day we go to Church. A physical building with lots of people and a full schedule of activities. We did that for many decades. We learned a lot. We grew in our faith. We established great friendships and had a wonderful social outlet for ourselves and for our children. But we are now in a season when planning yet another day of activity and interaction is exhausting for us. We desperately need our day of rest.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,
I keep it staying at Home –
With a bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome….
~Emily Dickinson, c.1862
I so relate to Emily Dickinson. On Sunday mornings Dan and I drink our tea together, chat a bit about things we are reading and learning….and then he takes his long walk communing with nature. I take myself to the chaise in our backyard and pretend I am at the beach, lie back and get a good dose of vitamins and enrichment from the sun. And I listen. It is a kind of ritual. I try to see how quickly I can discern at least 15-20 DIFFERENT sounds. It’s amazing how much you can hear if you listen deeply. A fly buzzing by, the whoosh of a hummingbird searching for nectar, the chirrup of the cicadas, tree branches rubbing together in the wind, a distant train whistle, a jet thousands of feet in the air, a car on a road nearby. The list goes on and on. I rarely listen to anything digital or electronic. I want to commune with Nature. In this setting it becomes so easy and natural to have a real and uninterrupted conversation with God.
….Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice
I just wear my wings–
And instead of tolling the bell for Church,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches, a noted clergyman
And the sermon is never long.
So instead of getting to heaven, at last–
I’m going, all along.
~Emily Dickinson, c.1862
It is very fulfilling to worship our great Creator in whatever way seems fitting but it seems a larger number of people are finding God in ways that go beyond the walls of a building.
One of my favorite books is Ken Gire’s Windows of the Soul. Gire relates how finding God in the wilderness, in vocation, in art, poetry, movies, dreams, and stories enriches our lives. I have read and taught from that book a dozen times.
Perhaps you are finding ways beyond the norm to experience God. I’d love to hear from you.