By Rev. David Berkey, Executive Director Grace Outside
This is a blog about nothing. It doesn’t involve the news, an email, a text, an alert, a streaming TV show, a Zoom meeting, cooking a meal, going shopping, or doing a household chore. It involves doing nothing at all. It is about taking a Sabbath time.
From the beginning of creation, God intended there be a day of rest. This practice was picked up by the Israelites thousands of years ago by incorporating it into the Torah – nothing was to be done from Friday evening until Saturday sunset. The concept also appears in Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. In the secular world the concept of a “weekend” was established in the 1930s as the unions fought for a reasonable work week.
This notion seems to have all but disappeared into one seamless, 24/7/365 work/life experience with no “off” button. The so-called “blue laws” I grew up with have long disappeared and only a few retailers and restaurants are closed on Sundays. Technology has made everything accessible all the time. Most places of commerce are open every day of the week, and some 24 hours a day.
And yet, the need for Sabbath time is greater than ever. It is what God intended for the mind, body and soul to refresh and renew. We just weren’t created for this non-stop pace.
What would it look like to do nothing for a 24-hour period? Columnist Michael J. Coren suggests there is no right way to practice a day of rest. Each of us can self-reflect on what would work best in our situation. It probably means turning off anything that can be turned off and to find a way to turn your mind from worrying about taking time off! Here are three of Coren’s suggestions:
- Pick something you love to do just for the pleasure of it.
- Find a community to share the time off with.
- Any amount of time is beneficial, even a few hours.
Sometimes it feels impossible to experience grace and peace without taking the time away from all that is available to do and all that is pressing against us. Let us take the courage to take Sabbath time, a way to find grace outside of our regular daily routines, and a way to find our true self as God created us to be.
Source: “The Surprising Environmental Benefits of Doing Nothing” by Michael J. Coren, Climate Magazine and quoted in Religious News.