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Midweek Musing on Spring and Sabbath 3/15/2023

Midweek Musing on Spring and Sabbath 3/15/2023

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

Recently as I was waiting for a meeting to start I overheard two mothers compare their schedules for the upcoming spring. Both of these women had several children who were elementary and middle school age. As they talked about the myriad activities and events on the schedule for their own families I was left feeling exhausted. Baseball practices and cheer competitions, tennis matches and book clubs, golf tournaments and swim practices and birthday parties. All on top of work and doctor’s appointments and school and the list never seemed to stop.

Frankly, I wondered how they kept up with it all. Trying to be funny I said something like – “Wow, you all are crazy busy. I think I’m too old for that much fun.”

One of the women responded more honestly than perhaps she intended when she said, “Who said anything about fun.”

After an awkward moment of silence, she began laughing and we all hesitantly joined in. Fortunately, about that time the leader of the meeting took the podium. Rarely have I been so glad for a training event to commence.

However, that conversation has stayed with me.

Now everyone I know loves springtime when winter retreats and the world comes alive again. It is an exciting vibrant time. A time when it seems the whole world bursts forth from its dormancy.

And as this occurs, it seems our to-do lists grow exponentially. Beyond regular obligations spring yard work and garden planting and outdoor events and spring sports and more and more and even more.

Now while nature does this at its own relaxed pace we humans seem to try to do it all at once. It is like we want to make up for the lost time of being stuck indoors.

Of course, we are always busy, but spring seems to burst forth our business like the pollen that covers my car.

Now none of these activities are bad things. Planting tomatoes and flowers, enjoying nature, communing with the outdoors, exercise, and sports – they are all wonderful things to do. However, when we become so busy and so preoccupied with what’s next that we lose the why behind those activities— which is to bring joy and have fun— then we have missed the point.

I think God knew this was a human characteristic, which is why God commanded rest and sabbath. Even with Jesus leading them the disciples had to be directly told to rest and even to eat!

If you unfold a map of Scotland (or I guess do Google Earth search) and look at the West Country, over by Loch Lomond, you’ll find a spot on the map labeled “Rest and Be Thankful.” That is not an instruction from the mapmaker. It is actually the name of a mountain pass, noted for its breathtaking view. The place got its name because, in the days before motorcars, you had to slog through a long, uphill climb to get there. Once you topped the crest of the hill, you found yourself in a broad, level place, with a spectacular vista: a sight made all the sweeter by the knowledge that the road was all downhill from there.

“Rest and be thankful” — it is not a bad thought considering God’s commandment to “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”

May those with ears to hear - including pastors— lean into this sabbath of resting and being thankful.

Have a wonderful week.

Clay Gunter


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