Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have an addiction or two. I am addicted to Facebook and email. It does not matter what day of the week it is, I regularly read status updates from 1000 "friends," log on to my Hotmail account to make sure I am not missing the latest travel sale or coupon deal for another bag to put in my closet and carry on occasion, and then log on to my church email account. I have a strong desire to always know what is happening in my life, in the lives of those around me, and at church. I cannot seem to get away from it - even on my seventh day - the day I have been invited to set aside for rest and renewal.

I'm also rather addicted to work. As a pastor, it seems that our work is never over. There is always another person to visit, always another hour we could spend perfecting or learning the sermon manuscript, always another conversation to share, and always another blog entry to write. There is so much to do that I rarely feel on top of it all. And while the majority of my members tell me that they are striving to work a 40 hour work week, I find the weeks of five, eight-hour days to be the exception and not the norm. I can regularly push myself to the point of exhaustion and even if I am not in the office, I'm daily (and sometimes hourly!) reading, writing or responding to email.

But things stopped yesterday.

Friday was switched with Tuesday as the appointed Sabbath day this week. With a wedding rehearsal on Friday and the ceremony on Saturday, I knew I needed to make sure that there was one day on which I would not be "on" - one day on which I could seek rest and renewal. I cancelled my one appointment with a church member and made a hair appointment instead. The hair appointment was followed by lunch at Chipotle and then an afternoon matinee of "The Help." It was 4:00 when I returned to the house which gave me plenty of time to check and respond to email except....except the Internet was not working. I tried fifty times and kept coming up with a blank screen. Nothing was working. I went to the couch and opened a book. An hour later I opened my laptop and tried again. Still nothing. The Internet did not start working again until about 8:30 last night.

Coincidence? Probably so as I don't believe God is involved in Verizon's Internet service. Yet, I still saw God show up. God was revealed in powerful ways.

I could have easily worked on my sermon yesterday. I instead went to the movie where I got a wonderful sermon illustration. I could have easily written something. It's been over two weeks since I have blogged, after all. I instead read the work of a colleague whose article had nothing to do with what I am preaching on Sunday morning and yet, I got additional insights for Sunday's sermon. I stopped working and did things that renew my soul. But God showed me how God was still working. I rested while God continued to labor. I relaxed while God showed me that it would be okay.

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Remember that the Lord who brought you out of the Land of Egypt worked for six days but on the seventh day, the Lord rested.

Why do we have such a hard time keeping this commandment?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The life of the contemporary bourgeoisie is a wearying frenzy of work, work, spending, and work, with some time left over for civic duties, commodified leisure, sex, family, and—maybe—a spiritual life.
—Eugene McCarraher, "Theology at the barricades," Commonweal, July 13, 2001