This post is part 2 of a 3-part reflection on Sabbath. Part 1 can be found here.
My Sabbath experiences growing up were not as restrictive as most of my friends. My parents encouraged us to slow down and refrain from work, but did not define that rest by inactivity. So while we did not make our beds, run the vacuum, or mow the grass on Sundays, we had the freedom to ride bikes, go swimming, and go out to eat. Sabbath was in many ways like a second Saturday with less errands and responsibilities and the addition of one (sometimes two) worship services. All in all, Sundays were pretty relaxed, comfortable days. Continue reading
This post is a reflection I shared with the elders in my church this week as we prepare for the launch of a new ministry year.
I am intrigued by the repetitive act in the Old Testament where God’s people would erect stone monuments. Most of the time, these monuments were nothing more than a few large stones gathered into a pile. They served as a visual way of reminding themselves (and sometime future generations) about God’s acts of faithfulness in their lives.
This morning, I found myself praying by simply listening to the wind. Don’t get me wrong: I am not talking about a mystical or other-worldly experience that overtook me. And I am certainly not advocating the adoption of a neo-pagan meditation practice. Rather, in listening to the wind, I found myself praying – but the praying was not me bringing words to the table, but me learning to be still. Psalm 46 comes to mind. As I think about it, this listening prayer really started last night as I noticed one of our trees leaning a bit more than usual as the rain soaked the ground and the winds pushed their way through our area. It continued through the night as the wind howled around the corners of our house and the trees’ groaning woke me several times. And then again this morning, as I drove our kids to school this morning and felt the need to adjust my steering in order to compensate for the wind’s continued pushiness, I continued to listen. Continue reading
I’m waking up today in the relative quiet of our rented home.
The sky is blue with a few clouds slowly drifting by.
The windows are open. I’ve heard seven distinct bird calls –
there’s a crow and a jay
but I can’t name most them by their chirps,
yet, you know them.
There is a cricket, too –
no, wait; it’s not a cricket, it’s some other small insect
declaring its presence
above the background noise of a squirrel chattering
as if something has just caught its attention for the first time.
An occasional car or two meanders past our house,
otherwise the hustle and bustle of the world around me this morning
comes from the stirring of your creation.
I pray that I might have eyes to see and ears to hear
the goodness of your creation today.
Yet, I must admit,
that prayer seems daunting, almost impossible.