Friday, 22 February 2013

A walk in the woods

A grand day out yesterday.  Very cold up on Exmoor but bright enough to tempt me down with camera in hand to visit Snowdrop Valley near Wheddon Cross.  By the time I'd traveled down the sun had pretty much disappeared but it was still worth it.  I enjoyed the rare delight of playing my choice of music loud (Scritti Politti's Anomie and Bonhomie, completests) without disparaging comment from family members on the way down and the two or three mile walk was good for me.

Topped off with a great curry, a dreadful film (Knowing) and a couple of glasses of red wine, it was good to take the day off - the first for over a week.  Even then it was tempting to just do a few odds and ends; work is unending and not without it's challenges.  But we are not machines - even church ministers are subject to the laws of work and rest. 

Then this morning read this - 

Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop.  We do not stop when we are finished.  We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow.  We stop because it is time to stop.

Sabbath requires surrender.  If we only stop when we are finished with all out work, we will never stop - because our work is never completely done.  With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility.  If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die.  Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished. 

We stop because there are forces larger than we that take care of the universe, and while our efforts are important, necessary, and useful, they are not (we are not) indispensable.  The galaxy will somehow manage without us for this hour, this day, and so we are invited - nay, commanded - to relax, and enjoy our relative unimportance, our humble place at the table in a very large world.  

Do not be anxious about tomorrow, Jesus said again and again.  Let the work of this day be sufficient.

Sabbath says, be still.  Stop.  There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished.

Wayne Mueller - quoted in Peter Scazzero, Daily Office, p. 107-8.

Seems I did the right thing.

Consider the flowers of the field...

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