Each time I prepare to go on summer vacation – brief or lengthy – the same thing happens. I scurry around to set things in order so that those who are left behind will not struggle in my absence with things I needed to do. During these preparations, I usually have a moment when I wonder if it’s even worth it to go away because of the enormous effort it seems to take.
In her book Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren F. Winner describes the preparations she and her soon-to-be husband made for the Shabbat (Sabbath):
“On Friday afternoon, at the very last minute, we’d rush home, stopping at
the grocery to pick up supplies. Flying into the kitchen we’d cook ahead for
the next twenty-four hours. Soup and salad, baked chicken, yams and
applesauce for dinner, and vegetable cholent or lasagna for the next day’s
lunch. Sometimes I’d think how strange it was to be in such a frenzy to get
ready for a day of rest.”
Summer vacation or Shabbat (Sabbath), both take a great deal of planning and preparation. Yet, in a world filled with our personal agendas, someone else’s agendas for us, worries, and minds that are always racing ahead to the next thing, we need summer vacation and Shabbat (Sabbath). We need a period of time when we let go of agendas and worries and racing minds and simply rest and relax, present to each other, creation, and God more fully.
Winner reminds us that “The Sabbath is a basic unit of Christian time, a day the Church, too, tries to devote to reverence to God and rest from toil,” a time when we can open our hearts and be most receptive to the sacred.
As you plan your summer vacations, your days-off, make Shabbat plans, as well, and include weekly worship in them. Know the absolute freedom that comes when we celebrate God’s presence in us and in the greater world. Winner suggests that “Shabbat is like nothing else. Time as we know it does not exist for these twenty-four hour...A feeling of joy appears. The smallest object, a leaf or a spoon, shimmers in a soft light, and the heart opens. Shabbat is a meditation of unbelievable beauty.”
The Sabbath was made for us! Come to worship and rest – in God and with others!