The gospel of Luke tells us that after all the profound and intense events of the days of Holy Week, those who loved and followed Jesus, “On the sabbath…rested according to the commandments.” I am entering into that rest today, Holy Saturday. I am taking sabbath in my spirit. It’s not as if I don’t know that there are things that need to be done. But I am intending to let my spirit be at rest. Marva Dawn in her important book, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, identifies four movements of Sabbath that I am observing inwardly today.
Ceasing: This Easter Saturday I am ceasing from anxiety about tomorrow–whether all the connections will be made, whether the food will suit everybody, whether we will get to church early enough to get a seat, whether or not I have remembered to reach out to everyone. I have done or will do all that can be done, and will no longer worry about what’s undone.
Resting: In between the things I still need to do to make life livable, I will rest–short respites of listening to Bach, a brief snooze before company arrives, a quick reading of a chapter of mystery, a time to sit and gaze at the beautiful back yard in bloom. For a brief shining moment here and there, I will rest my body as well as my spirit.
Embracing: I am opening my arms and heart to the beauty and gifts that are offered to me–an unexpected warm e-mail from abroad from an old friend, a top of the morning snuggle with my beloved, a granddaughter who is coming to decorate for tomorrow. All are welcome in my heart today, gifts from the One who gives good gifts continually. I also intend to welcome the gifts I don’t yet know about!
Feasting: The feasting on food will happen tomorrow in the main, but today, a Sabbath, I am feasting on sacred music, the new bloom of roses, the aroma of Black-Bottom cupcakes, a nostalgic recipe from my children’s birthday parties, the softness of my throw rug and the dog’s silky ears, and the taste of the extra chocolate chips that don’t quite make it into the batter. I am also feasting of the awareness that for this day there is a Grace in not having to do anything to make thing all right, not at home, not in the Church, not in the world. Jesus is at rest, out of pain; I can be too. Tomorrow all the energy and power of Easter will compel me forward again to celebrate, to rejoice, and to let that energy become action for change in the world. But today I am observing sabbath.
I am resting in anticipation of the good news to come!