Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to God: you shall not do any work. --Exodus 20:9-10a
It is not for God, it is for us. We can become so enmeshed in the round of responsibilities and tasks that tug at us so urgently and relentlessly that we end up feeling like the hem of time’s dress in our lives is tattered and torn. We hardly know any longer how to change the pattern because it has become so habitual. The idea of keeping one day a week holy – that is, set apart from the other days – feels not only foreign but impossible. How will everything get done if we take one full 24-hour period a week to refrain from all work? We sometimes think that if we had more hours in each day, then we might allow ourselves such a luxury, but without those additional hours, we simply cannot do it. We may even wonder why God would ask it of us anyway. Are we not in charge of our own time, or at least the way we spend that time? Certainly,
We cannot be faulted for being responsible adults that follow through on their commitments!
The nature of time is fascinating, really. The more we focus on the tightness of time in our days, the more constricted our time actually becomes. If we were magically given more than 24 hours in our day, soon our responsibilities would swell to fill those extra hours and we would be wanting yet more time added to our day. But, surprisingly, if at those moments when we feel like we are ‘wasting time’ by not working, we would simply stop, we would begin to feel like time is expanding and more of it is available to us.
Why not try stopping all your work for one day each week? Let that day unfold in languor, ease, reflection, and re-creation. Find yourself moving slowly toward holiness even as time seems to grow beneath your fingers.
O God, remind me that there is enough time to stop – to hear and see in silence and stillness.
These meditations first appeared at explorefaith.org
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