Sunday, November 6, 2011
I got to church very early today. I am a fairly relaxed Sunday mover - and I planned to arrive about the time the second service started to get a good seat and enjoy the service. But when I arrived the sermon was going and that confused me. I talked to a friend who said, "Oh, didn't you put your clock back?" Sadly, sitting on the couch and very much wanting just a bit more snooze to my morning I had instead, leaped up and made for the road. So today I had the benefit of sitting through a class and a service. It was good for me.
I remember hearing of a woman who was lamenting her age. Her husband asked her, "Well honey, were you born at the right time?" She replied, "I guess so." And he asked again, "Did you live at the right speed?" Her answer was, "Yes."
"Then," he said, "You must be at the right age."
I wonder if I live my life at the right speed. The college class I was in was basically about wasting time that could be spent constructively for the sake of the world. (The world, of course, being interests and conditions outside of my own.) They listed all the obligations they have in a week and came up with 19 hours of unused time.
In the first half of my life I lived those 19 hours up fully. I squished more into an hour than reasonably possible, always multi-tasking and racing past gentleness. I wonder now what in my life is lived at the right pace and what is too fast or too slow. Slowing down is one of the graces of aging. Rather than chafe at it I am relishing the fact that my old 'car' can't go faster than the speed limit. I can spend some time thinking about what has happened instead of just racing to the next thing ahead of me.
The idea of Sabbath has been on my mind of late. Sabbath rest is, at its finest, a cosmic idea. On the 7th day God rested, Genesis says. But there is no 8th day. Did you notice that? Rest for God was not a response to the hard work of creation, but actually his final creation on earth. Not the pinnacle, more like the denouement.
God put his rest over the earth with the intention that we would live in that rest. It was not until the 'Fall" that words like curse, rule over, sweat of brow, pain in childbirth, enmity, etc were introduced into creation. Then it became important for us to take a day regularly to rest, but also to remember the holiness of God's rest and what life was intended to be on earth. Hebrews 4 says that 'There yet remains the rest of God for those who are His." This speaks of a now and yet not now kind of experience. One day humans will again live in the "rest of God."
My goal, now, is not to try to keep the Sabbath perfectly. Nor is my goal simplicity of life, which I adopted a decade ago. My goal now is to discover and preserve the 'rest of God' wherever it covers my life and world. Where I find those places I will protect them, in my life or other's lives. And where there is no rest I will endeavor to put some rest there.
This is no small task but it is part of the restoration of the world, as much as any other. The 'rest of God' is fully creative, engaged, open, communal, gentle, and inclusive. Such a rest is the opposite of laying on the couch with the remote and a bag of chips. (Nothing against bodily rest.)
I just put all my clocks back an hour. It felt like I had been given a gift of life - the last hour I used up was given back to me.Time was made a fool. I think when we enter into the 'rest of God' it will feel like that. Time will be made a fool.