The latest book that I am reading along with the Bloom book club is called Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller.
Doesn’t that title sound like something we all need? I thought so.
There was a little bit of discussion and concern among Bloomers who wondered if this book would be appropriate for Christians because not only are Jesus and the Scriptures quoted, there are references to Buddhist beliefs, traditional Jewish beliefs and other relgious traditions from other cultures and how they incorporate Sabbath. You can read Angie’s response here.
I will say, I am a few chapters into this book and there are things I don’t agree with. But, that doesn’t bother me in a book. I love reading, and this book has opened my eyes to some other traditions and religions that I wasn’t all that familiar with before – and what this book is bringing together for us is that no matter our religion or culture or background, we were created to need rest. All of us. God, as Muller points out, created rest. He Himself rested. And He called it all good.
Wayne Muller, the author of this book, shares some comments and encouragement on the Bloom blog as well. One thing he shares that really resonates with me is that “We rarely, if ever, feel any permission from anywhere or anyone that it is all right for us to stop, to rest, to take Sabbath time.”
Don’t you find that so true? Especially among other church going Christians? We need more nursery workers, we need more Sunday School teachers, we need more people in the choir, we need this and that and more of this. Don’t get me wrong, I love my church!! I feel called to serve in my church! However, I should be able to say no and not be guilted into serving. I should be able to say no and not be made to feel lazy, right? I am sure all of us have felt this guilt from time to time. In this fast paced world, we are not given permission to slow down and rest by anyone, let alone our own selves!
Wayne Muller states in the introduction of this book that “the busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others.” I found this statement to be very true also. Over the past few years, God has been slowing me down quite a bit, but there used to be a time in my life where a filled-in calendar meant we must be doing well. uggg.
Muller mentions several Scriptures that describe Jesus going off by Himself to pray. (Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:15-16, Mark 1:32 -33, 35-36.) Jesus obviously did not wait until all His work was done before He took time away from the crowds to spend with His Father. “He did not wait until they had completed all their work; He invited them to rest in the middle of their busyness.” (Muller, p. 25.)
I love this. Even in the midst of their most busy times – times of healing, times of preaching, times of discipling, Jesus and His disciples took time away from the crowds to rest and to pray. I think this really shows us how we should live our own lives as well.
Much good comes from rest: restoration, joy, peace, prayer, renewal, perspective. I know I need some Sabbath time in my own life. What about you?