The final day of my sabbatical has come and gone. Today has been like so many other Mondays at Bethel Lutheran Church. We had a staff meeting. I worked on some worship services. I corresponded with all sorts of people about all sorts of things. Today has been very different too. So many Mondays I would wake up with an overwhelmed feeling before I even got out of bed. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders… or at least the weight of the church. Mondays would often come and go with more expectations unmet than met. I can’t approach my Mondays that way anymore. Those first few moments of the day are precious and should be filled with thanksgiving and hope instead of anxiety. It’s a new day of God’s grace! He doesn’t have to give it to us… but he does. While I’m ready to come off the bench, the weight of the church does not rest on my shoulders. Watching our church go on just fine without me for 10 weeks has shown me that! Expectations? God has blown away so many of my expectations in the last few months. He truly does exceed all that we can ask or imagine.
They say you create memories while you sleep. In a strange way, rest coalesces our experiences into things that can endure on the inside. We carry those memories into the world around us and use them to do things, ordinary and extraordinary. Now, I can’t say that I’ve been sleeping away my sabbatical, but I can say that this time of rest has given me perspective on what God has created and how he shows his love through his people as we follow Jesus together. It’s like these things are burned in my memory. They are inescapable fact. My world is now seen through this lens and it’s never been clearer.
On the 7th day of creation God rested. He looked back on his perfect, thoroughly interdependent creation and it was very good. Something amazing happens to us when we rest. We remember what it all looked like before sin and selfishness corrupted God’s perfect creation. When we rest we are somehow reconnected with the divine intention for us and all creation. It’s like we’re sitting there with God on the 7th day of creation and together taking in the view of the “very good.” Without rest, we forget. Without rest, we become myopic and see only ourselves or how the world just doesn’t want to work together. Without rest, we busy ourselves creating, when we should be sitting back, admiring the creation with the One who made it so very good.
Our Mondays come, and we get back to work for our little season. If we’ve rested, we have the memory of Gods perfect interdependent creation in mind. We see our place in God’s creation and happily play our part. We work hard, knowing that others rely on us and we joyfully rely on them. We rejoice every time we see a glimpse of God’s creation working as it should.
My Monday came today.
Thank you Bethel for granting me this sabbatical. Thank you God, for slowing me down and making a memory. I won’t forget.