Sabbath

Here & Now is taking a sabbath for the rest of August.

By Debora Buerk
Curator & Editor for Here & Now. 
Debora is part of the Selah Community

In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest,” writes Wayne Muller in Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest.

Millennia ago, the tradition of Sabbath created an oasis of sacred time within a life of unceasing labor. This consecrated time, Muller affirms, is available to all of us, regardless of our spiritual tradition. We need not even schedule an entire day each week. Sabbath time can be a sabbath afternoon, a sabbath hour, or a sabbath walk. Sabbath time is time off the wheel when we take our hand from the plow and allow the essential goodness of creation to nourish our souls.

We have lost this essential rhythm. Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something–anything–is better than doing nothing.

Wayne Muller
Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest

Discussions about the Sabbath often center around moralistic laws and arguments over whether a person should be able to play cards or purchase liquor on Sundays. In Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, Walter Brueggemann writes that the Sabbath is not simply about keeping rules but rather about becoming a whole person and restoring a whole society. Importantly, Brueggemann speaks to a 24/7 society of consumption, a society in which we live to achieve, accomplish, perform, and possess. We want more, own more, use more, eat more, and drink more. Keeping the Sabbath allows us to break this restless cycle and focus on what is truly important: God, other people, all life. 

Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary and the world’s leading interpreter of the Old Testament writes: “Thus I have come to think that the fourth commandment on sabbath is the most difficult and most urgent of the commandments in our society, because it summons us to intent and conduct that defies the most elemental requirements of a commodity-propelled society that specializes in control and entertainment, bread and circuses … along with anxiety and violence.” 

We used to sing the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy.” But perhaps we should be singing, “Take time to be human.” Or finally, “Take time.” Sabbath is taking time … time to be holy … time to be human.” 

Walter Brueggemann,
Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now

Here & Now and Selah Center is Taking a Sabbath

In the spirit of taking an intentional break from the rat race for rest and rejuvenation, the Here & Now blog will join with the Selah Center in taking a sabbath for the remainder of August.

We encourage you to consider taking a sabbath from social media. You might instead read Wayne Muller or Walter Brueggemann’s books.

We look forward to publishing again in September.

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Delightful

By Sherly Dorney
part of the Selah Community

Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart. 

Psalm 37:4

My grandchildren are absolutely delightful!  A hot fudge sundae, minus the calories, is delightful.  When my house is totally clean, I find that delightful.  And when God isn’t making me work on my stuff, I’m delighted to be conversing on an upbeat and positive level.  I “delight in the Lord” but not enough.

For about a million years I truly believed the desire of my heart was to have a man in my life. I’ve prayed, sacrificed, begged, pleaded, bargained, threw away all my Jimi Hendrix albums because someone convinced me they might be cursed, tithed, fasted, asked the saints for intercessions, asked people to pray for me.  You name it and I’ve done it.  Anything anyone suggested, I’ve done.  Now rushing toward sixty too quickly, I finally know a man in my life is not the deepest desire of my heart. 

My heart’s desire is to be all that God created me to be!  That means discovering my talents and using them for good.  It means healing the wounds that keep me from being whole.  It means listening to God’s whispers and being delighted that I’m being spoken to.

Had I been truly in tune with my heart’s desire, and had known the future, I would have spent that energy praying for my grandson Bryan, who is afflicted with severe ADHD and struggles so much in school and tries so hard but his talents are overlooked.  I would have spent more time feeling delight in God after being tested for leukemia, Colby’s results were negative and Garhett’s heart was healthy with no holes.  I would have begged and pleaded that my step-niece, Ryann could have died a natural death, that she and her baby would have lived a long life.   That her family would have never had to experience unthinkable pain and suffering and prayed against the evil that slithered into our family and tried to crush our spirits.

On the path of pain, when I forgot to delight, God didn’t forget me.  Instead, God delighted in me and my family and sent extraordinary healing, grace, and hope.  May we continue to delight in God and give thanks for all of our blessings and remember our true heart’s desire is our sacred relationship with God. How delightful! 

Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash

On Meditation

By Jeffrey B.
part of the Selah Community

On Jan 22,2022 early in the morning I was in my sacred space when I heard the news of the teacher’s passing. I felt there was something to write so I trusted my pen to move upon the paper.

Thich Nhat Hanh upon his death 

Find your breath, notice how simple is the in and out 

Use this to settle yourself dear One 

This is your grieving

Stand near a pond

Find a pebble, be-friend and notice the uniqueness of this pebble

Toss the pebble gently into the water -see how the ripples move from the splash

Notice the ripples eventually will disappear. But are they permanently gone? Or could they be absorbed into the greater body of water-which is the Universe.

As the ripples transform into the bigger body of water, the pebble has been floating to the bottom of the pond.

Now Dear One, cry your tears for me-we always can cry for One we’ve loved who has departed.

Find your breath again.

The in breath.

The out breath. 

See? It returns. The body knows how to return.

Now go, into your world again-walking with gentle kind steps in the way of Love.

Peace is the way, in the present moment. 

I am that pebble-I’ve gone to join the multitudes. 

Now go Dear One, 

All is well.

In “Resting in the River,” Thich explains that resting is the first part of meditation: 

I shared this writing with a loved one, who remembered a similarity,  then sent me the following writing of Thay’s from a magazine in 1988.

“My dear friends, suppose someone is holding a pebble and throws it in the air and the pebble begins to fall down into a river. After the pebble touches the surface of the water, it allows itself to sink slowly into the river. It will reach the bed of the river without any effort. Once the pebble is at the bottom of the river, it continues to rest. It allows the water to pass by.

“I think the pebble reaches the bed of the river by the shortest path because it allows itself to fall without making any effort. During our sitting meditation we can allow ourselves to rest like a pebble.

“We can allow ourselves to sink naturally without effort to the position of sitting, the position of resting. Resting is a very important practice; we have to learn the art of resting.”

Written by Thich Nhat Hahn, “Resting in the River” 

Source: March 1998 issue of The Shambhala Sun, pg  45.

I had never seen or heard of “Resting in the River” before. ….I will not try to explain this occurrence, only to bask in gratitude, and tears, for the teacher is now a cloud. May it be so. –JB

Thich Nhat Hahn

Photo from Lion’s Roar