Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sabbath. Rest. Delight.

I do not know much about Sabbath. I am learning how to Rest, and Delight is finding more space in me and with others. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by people—a community even—who are willing to look at things in new ways and break out of molds that have held them for most of their lives.

This morning I awoke very early and spent some quiet time in prayer and contemplation. The Bible verse for the reading today was this: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. (Psalm 103:11)

I was taking it in and really feeling the expanse of God’s love until I reached the words “for those who fear him.” I ponder why those words must be there. Who made the translation? Is fear required to receive the expanse of love? I tried to convince myself that a little “healthy fear” is good for everyone, but my mind continues again and again to the damage done when we are hammered and shamed with a fear-based God. And, how the God of love never leaves us. While a fear-based God is not the topic of this post, I wanted to mention that because it seems relevant to the way I spent my evening last night—my Sabbath. It was an evening where the presence of an expansive, loving God was very, very present.

Eight of us were called together for Sabbath—to light the candles, share food and wine and enter into a time of delight. I can see the evening unfold in my mind, but something stops me from putting it onto paper. Somehow, in this case, words seem to limit the experience. I do, however, feel the great desire to mark this occasion for those times when I might not remember so vividly. The evening was a true blessing and will continue far longer than the flame of those Sabbath candles.

As I opened my computer this morning I was greeted with the sweet aroma of last night’s Sabbath once again. It seems most apt to share these words of our host that arrived in my inbox this morning.

"Just settled down to do some Meister Eckhart meditation and the first one that popped up as I randomly opened the book was this:

God's peace
prompts service among brothers and sisters.
In that way one creature

sustains another.

One enriches the other,

and that is why
all creatures are interdependent.

That is so evidently real tonight. I am grateful for you all and our mutual sustaining and enriching.

So that was the first meditation I read, and it is now the last. Want to soak it in."

Me, too. I want to soak it all in. My hope is to continue to learn and experience more of Sabbath, Rest and Delight. That hope is for me, for you, for the World! It is a hope as we consider entering the season of Advent which begins one week from tomorrow. Amen & Shabbat Shalom!

14 comments:

Barbara said...

You spread a lovely prayer shawl upon us all, lucy, with your description of Shabbat, Rest and Delight!
I've heard it said that "fear", in the sense of the Hebrew Scriptures, would be better translated as "awe." It is easier for us to live with that version.

lucy said...

barbara--somehow i knew i could count on my gentle readers to share another sense of that translation. "awe"...yes, that i can more than "live with." it feels right and true. thank you! peace.

Sue said...

Barbara beat me to it. And I also thought about that verse that says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Whereas I would say the truly wise are those who have tasted and seen that he is good and lap-climbing-at-any-time worthy. I think that could just about sum up the gospel, in some ways. I know many people say the good news of the gospel is Jesus coming to earth to atone for our sins, and that is good news of course. But I am of the mind that the atoning is to benefit us, not to appease God and his giant stupid ego. I would say the good news is that the kingdom from heaven is at hand. That's good news.

Thanks for sharing that with us :) I love Barbara's comment about spreading a prayer shawl upon us all. It did feel like that.

Gayle at Mountain Moma said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and love what you wrote about experiencing a Sabbath.

Endlessly restless said...

Hi Lucy

I've been captivated by thoughts of sabbath-ing for a long time now. What you describe sounds ideal!

As for the 'fear' thing - Barbara is spot on. The word denotes reverential awe - yet a quick flick through various versions of the Bible has failed to reveal any that indicate this dimension of the word. I wonder why? (That's a genuine wondering, not a cycnical/sarcastic question!)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your collage and find that it brings soaring to my soul. And, I love that 8 of you experienced Sabbath rest together. That feels warm and very inviting! I long for that kind of community where I am.
Cheryl

lucy said...

sue--i love the way you wrestle with these topics. there are definitely lots of "fear" verses in the Bible i grew up with. i love that you touched upon "the kingdom of heaven is at hand". that was indeed what i experienced on this sabbath night. thanks as always for your expressive commenting :-) hugs!

gayle--thank you and welcome to diamonds!! i hope you'll come back for more :-)

ER--i highly recommend pursuing this form of sabbath. i hope to write more about it.

and, i wonder right along with you as to why and how the feeling of "awe" moved into one of "fear" and so far away from the gospel of love!

cheryl--oh dear, i must clarify...the "collage" is not mine, but i am glad it touched your soul as it did mine.

it feels like sabbath to my soul to have you visiting here and leaving your mark! thank you.

His Girl Friday said...

Hi Lucy,

concur with the awe = fear. In a way awe is a simple way to encapture the respect and the sublime majesty when we think of God.

I like your description/participation of the Sabbath. I think relationships, and the quiet intimacy of fellowship is important. To be honest, this is something I miss. The best Sabbaths for me have been around a campfire with a guitar and some good friends fellowshipping together.

lucy said...

HGF--our Sabbath was not so dissimilar from yours...we just happened to be inside next to a fireplace :-)

AlkySeltzer said...

Nice, spiritual blog, I sure like that! Thanks.

From: Another "stumbler"...who just happened onto your blog. Some things happen for a reason? Who knows? Guess God does!

Your mentioning the "fear of God" etc., and the comments, 'forced' me to ("inquisitive people want to know: 'National Enquirer' ad!" --grin) look up the word FEAR. Definition #3 fit the meaning I was seeking:

3. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.

Ah'm jes' sayin'.....Steve E.

lucy said...

Steve E--so glad you stumbled by! one of my first courses of action is often to look at the dictionary definition. i guess in this case, i had the "old" definition of fear so implanted in my brain that i didn't consider heading the webster's. thank you for doing it for me! i hope you will stop by again. peace.

Tess said...

Just settling down to reading blog posts I missed over the weekend, and this is so beautiful.
The discussion on the word 'fear' is especially interesting to me as I'm just back from the first meeting of an Advent bible study group at which we read out verses from Isaiah. The actual words were really interesting, as each of us had a different bible with slightly different translations. So for example in one bible, we had 63:17 asking "Why, Lord, do you let us wander from your ways", while another translation had "...do you make us wander...". Completely different connotation.
Hmm, I may feel a blog post coming on.

BrettRam said...

Lucy,

Thank you so much for your journey. Your path is my path and it is nice to feel your fine company. Like you, when i read this scripture, my heart sank at the word "fear." I am realizing that i still grapple with this bugaboo God concept from the ashes of my "religious" past. Haughtily, a part of me (my ego) likes to feel this concept was entombed long ago...but I see that it is not entirely so. I'm also thankful for the clarity the "AWEsomeness" of God brings to the Sabbath table. I am loving my process of redefining God in Her image rather than my own. Thanks again for the communion you share.

Pax,

Brett

P.S. Put me down for a copy of Grace Unbound! I'll send you an email with details post haste.

lucy said...

tess--it's no wonder we get confused reading the Bible especially if we are raised that it is inerrant in word...which word would that be? :-)

brett--so nice to see you here again...have you been away or just lurking? be sure to send me the "details" so you get your copy of Grace Unbound :-)