Sabbath in the Suburbs: April (chapter 9)

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In many ways this feels like the chapter where we learn to just “Be okay with that.” Whatever isn’t getting done, whether it’s cleaning the basement or having the perfect day or sorting the closet or weeding the garden or cooking the perfect dinner: can we be okay with that?

Perhaps this is what Sabbath is really about. We, especially at RCLPC, are so invested in working to bring in the kingdom of God, so invested in trying to make the world a better place, so busy trying to help everyone…maybe the definition of Sabbath is to take one day where we just try to be okay with imperfection, with the reality that only God can finish the kingdom work. This is not to say that we should accept injustice or immunize ourselves against the pain of the world. But it is to say that we need the reminder that our own efforts are not so indispensable that we can’t take a day off.

Can we be okay with that?

Can we accept the “good enough” for today, and pick up the work again tomorrow?

The other major concept that I think is a struggle for many of us in this chapter is the idea of Sabbath being a time for practicing being Really Real–for being authentic, not dressed up or fixed up or covered up, but just being who we are and letting God work in us as we are. This goes against our impulse to dress up to show respect for God or Church (though that’s not as much a part of RCLPC culture as it may be in other places), and against our impulse to hide our imperfections. But perhaps we need to be okay with those too.

Many theologians and Christian philosophers have described the Christian life as a process of letting go–of shedding the unnecessary parts of ourselves or unnecessary things, of letting go of our concept of success, of downward mobility to be with the people Jesus hung around with, etc. In this chapter we are invited to let go of our understanding of perfection, and our overstated self-importance in bringing that perfection about. In that letting go, we may just find that God can do something we never expected.

Can you be okay with that?

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