I fell in love with this statement when I first read it on Facebook many years ago. I alsostruggle with accepting it. We live in a culture that idolizes busyness and productivity. We get it honestly from the protestant work ethic, a Calvinist school of thought that says “work hard so that God will bless with plenty, so you can give to those in need.” It’s gotten more to the point of the statement “Idle hands are the devil’s work.” 70-90 hour work weeks are becoming the norm. Kids are so overbooked by their parents trying to get them into Ivy League schools they can’t just enjoy relaxing and spending time with friends. People forget or ignore time for vacation.
Why do we do this? What are we getting from this sense of superiority by doing more things? What are we afraid of when we think of down time, silence, rest, doing nothing for a while?
I am in no way saying that a good work ethic is a bad thing. I propose that a truly good work ethic is faithful to the notion of sabbath. I often find that when I have been working too long my brain feels like my computer when I haven’t shut it down for a week. Like our devices, we need to shut down and reboot in order to function at our highest potential.
As I head out to take a vacation, I find myself struggling to relax and let life be. St. Anne’s is a place in which I have full confidence in my absence as Rector. I still have that irrational voice in the back of my mind saying, “What did you forget? What email didn’t you send? Could you have done more?” To this voice, the Spirit thankfully says, “Of course there’s more you could do! That’s not the point. Put down your work and rest in my arms. The work will still be there when you get back.”
That is the gift of sabbath. May we remember the importance of this time of rest in our weeks, our years, and slow down long enough to treasure the most important things in our lives. May we spend quality relaxing time with loved ones, go to the sea, the mountains, whatever recharges us. I give great thanks for the chance to get away and recharge, and I look forward to seeing you all again on Pentecost Sunday!
Blessings to you,