Monday, September 1, 2008

SPIRITUALITY & MISSION // Sabbath in My Context

From my final paper:

Sabbath practice in my current context, Fuller Seminary, will establish a routine for Sabbath practice in my future context. So far in seminary, especially through “Spirituality and Mission,” I have added the power of a retreat and the insight of the Contemplative stream to my Sabbath practice in my current context.

The spiritual retreat taken this quarter opened my eyes to the “magic” found in simply taking time to break from the rat race. The time away and the garden setting allowed me to write out all the emotions, questions and prayers that were bottled up inside me. The retreat allowed me to breathe easier and for the first time in a long time, to just enjoy God. It was like Sabbath: a time to rest and a time to remember God and remember who I was in God.

Studying the different streams of the Christian tradition through Foster’s book Streams of Living Water was a learning experience. I recognized all the streams but had not considered the ones outside my own with very much depth. The Contemplative stream was one for which I gained new appreciation. I am not prone to consider monasticism too much; I am not called to live such a lifestyle. But the current situation of my life really connected with the quiet and calm that the Contemplative stream portrayed. Life so far in 2008 has been a whirlwind of sorts, often leaving my insides to ask, “What have you done to us?” Reading through “Practicing the Contemplative Tradition,” I feel the words “Sabbath rest, Sabbath rest, Sabbath rest” pounding on me over and over. Foster’s take on the Contemplative tradition reads as Sabbath rest to me. I feel like I could open these two pages every Sunday (or whenever my Sabbath might be) in whatever context I find myself, and there will be my Sabbath practice.

Beyond my time at Fuller, I am not quite sure what routine life will hold. I feel like I should be prepared for the “un-set” schedule. Still, the rhythm of Sabbath must be incorporated. After this study, I believe that it is not only a necessity but also a requirement. I see my Sabbath as including worship time, prayer, reading, perhaps naptime. Especially, I see blogging as part of my Sabbath practice as a means of reflection and remembrance.

For professional church workers the decision to find and take a Sabbath is often hindered by “their efforts to please God and their efforts to save the world.” As a speaker to the Church, I must remember that I am not her Savior and I am not her Provider. I must also remember the rhythm of rest goes back to God and creation. This rhythm “matches how we were created; only in its keeping can we truly flourish.”

Ministers often set apart a day other than Sunday as a “day off” or their “Sabbath.” As post-seminary life takes shape, a day that might not be Sunday will be set aside as my Sabbath.

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