To do or not to do: a short reflection on Sabbath

I take a short break of posting about my accident of last year to post this:

Why is it that I practically live for Fridays? As a Presbyterian Church music director with a steady Sunday gig, Friday is my Sabbath. It is the day most likely to be given over to nothing. Such is the freedom given us in the created order: a day to waste. What is it about this day that engenders such anticipation all week and, at the same time, impatience once it arrives?

What will I do today? Better still, what will I not do today? What if I do the wrong things all day and I’m left dissatisfied, wanting for that unnamed thing I might otherwise have done? More likely, what if I waste the entire day second-guessing whether I did or didn’t do what I set out to do or not do?

This is what happens when we’re presented with one day is to live without agenda. Our ridiculously over-busy, to-do list driven lives train us well in the art of hectic minutiae. Like Pavlov’s dog, we salivate whenever bells ring or buzzers sound offering us the juicy bone of self-satisfied accomplishment.

Life is too often an unending romp in the fast-food ball pit with the rest of the over-sugared kids when what we need most is to find the turd at the bottom and get hastily pulled back out where it doesn’t smell so much like sweat and urine! At least when our ball pits of shame are roped off for sterilization we get to see the interesting faces of those with whom we have shared the experience.

The need to incessantly do something is built into the DNA of our fast food, sitcom culture. When we stumble across that rare soul who takes Sabbath rest seriously we think him lazy or even misguided. We glare disapprovingly over the tops of our day timers, cell phones at the ready, sitting impatiently, green-light souls at an eternal red light. Clearly time management skills wed to a lack of prioritization have led this irresponsible oaf to simply throw away an entire day. After all, we inwardly tell ourselves in congratulation, we are to “redeem the time for the days are short.”

However, when we do finally grace ourselves with even a single moment to reflect, we admit that we’re not a little envious of such a one. When envy moves over for curiosity that, in turn, births an inner longing, we stand on the doorstep of God’s gift of Sabbath rest.

Gotta go. I’m not finished wasting time…

Robert Rife, September 2, 2011 (but who’s counting?)

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