We have long been commanded, encouraged to keep a Sabbath. The concept is an old one and can be easily found in the earliest biblical stories. It is one that was not merely encouraged but commanded, note the story of creation and the Ten Commandments. The idea being, of course, that one would have a day of rest. This day is set aside for rest, refreshment, worship; a time to just be. How many of us avail of it?
I confess I find it hard to do nothing, to just be. I find that any free time means I can read, knit, cross stitch, plan, do household chores. It is not a time of rest where I am doing nothing. So I am guilty of not making the most of sabbath time. It could be the way that I am wired! It could be the society that I live in. It could be any number of reasons. However, as we walked along the streets of Italy, I have noticed a difference in the pattern here. Everything is closed, people seem to be in less of a hurry, even the trains are less frequent. The pace of life is slower. What people are actually doing on this Sabbath is anyone's guess but the temptation to shop and rush around the malls has been removed from the equation. The result of all of this activity of course is that we get weary. That leads to further issues regarding wellness of body, mind and spirit.
While the Sabbath was traditionally set aside for worship I think it has taken on a broader aspect, it is finding the quiet space to breathe easily with no list of activities, it is taking the extra time to rest and allow for wholeness of the body, mind and spirit. It is taking time to be in a quiet and holy place to breathe in the good and the positive and exhale all of the negative. The Sabbath is about finding rest.
A slow walk along the grounds of the monastery to simply be in the fresh air, enjoy the surrounding beauty and a slower pace reveals many beauties of nature and what we are surrounded with. To breathe in crisp clean air, smell the beginning of roses and see the beauty that lies before us. To quietly be is a gift. The Sabbath is also a gift, a gift to be so that we can renew and strengthen our minds, bodies and spirits further enabling us to go back to all that we encounter in life, ready to face it because we have taken advantage of our Sabbath. Will you keep your Sabbath?
The Roses are blooming!
The Pomegranates are done for the season!
Fig Trees at various heights