Of the 50 plus books I’ve read over the last two years, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, by Wayne Muller, truly stands out and is one I will return to again and again… to remember, to learn, and (hopefully) practice even a portion of the great wisdom and revelation found throughout the pages. I encourage you to get this book and do the same. I share with you only a sample, so as to whet your appetite for all that Muller offers when defining and exploring Sabbath. It just may change the way you view (and even do) life.
In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest.
All life requires a rhythm of rest. There is a rhythm in our waking activity and the body’s need for sleep. There is a rhythm in the way day dissolves into night, and night into morning. There is a rhythm as the active growth of spring and summer is quieted by the necessary dormancy of fall and winter…
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. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Poisoned by this hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest. And for want of rest, our lives are in danger.
…Our lack of rest and reflection is not just a personal affliction. It colors the way we build and sustain community, it dictates the way we respond to suffering, and it shapes the ways in which we seek peace and healing in the world.
…How have we allowed this to happen? This was not our intention…
I suggest that it is this: We have forgotten the Sabbath. Before you dismiss this statement as simplistic, even naïve, we must explore more fully the nature and definition of Sabbath. While Sabbath can refer to a single day of the week, Sabbath can also be a far-reaching, revolutionary tool for cultivating those precious human qualities that grow only in time.