Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Rhythm of Life

I am very intrigued by rhythms in life. Maybe it's because routine is so important to my well-being on so many levels. When my routine is messed up my whole world seems out of whack. Routine keeps me grounded and focused and keeps a handle on my sanity.

Rhythm: from Greek "rhythmos", any regular recurring motion, symmetry.
Dictionary definitions: 1.) Recurring at regular intervals. 2.) An interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs. 3.) A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

We have started a study group at church to develop a theology of Sabbath. Sabbath seems very foreign in our modern church culture. It seems very Jewish, something left behind with Old Testament traditions and laws. But in our staff book study (Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton) it became a topic of conversation as we read the author's encouragement to establish spiritual rhythms for the health and growth of our soul.
"Sabbath keeping is the linchpin of a life lived in sync with the rhythms that God himself built into our world, and yet it is the discipline that seems hardest for us to live. Sabbath keeping honors the body's need for rest, the spirit's need for replenishment and the soul's need to delight itself in God for God's own sake. It begins with willingness to acknowledge the limits of our humanness and then to take steps to live more graciously within the order of things." Ruth Haley Barton, pg. 122
Our first occasion of seeing Sabbath in the Bible is in Genesis 2:2-3 where God patterns the Sabbath for us. He  models a life rhythm of work and rest. "By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done." God set this day apart from the other days because on it He rested. The day is holy, set apart, because on it we do what is different than the other days. We cease working.
"Sabbath provides for us now the rhythm for an entire reorientation of our lives around the living God. On Sabbaths we imitate God by stopping our work and resting." Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
So, here in this first occasion in Scripture, before the Law was given, before God commanded us to observe the Sabbath, we see Sabbath as our opportunity and invitation  to imitate our Creator, in whose image we have been created.

This is just the beginning. It will be exciting to see where this study leads us over the next few months and how it impacts our rhythm of life individually and as a church community.

Over the past few years I have developed a rhythm of rest that provides time daily each morning to rest in God's presence ~ to spend time in contemplation, prayer, Bible reading and journaling. I set aside a day each week to rest from work and, as an introvert, to have a "no people day"; a day filled with the things that re-energize my body, soul, and mind. And I set aside Sundays after church to have a day with my husband, a day where we try to keep busyness and events off the calendar and simply rest together. I think that when we have completed this study even the rhythms I do have in place will change some, will become more holy and set aside for the Lord.

Today we had a break in the routine, but one that has become a much needed rest...yet one more snow storm in this never-ending winter. I'm enjoying the unexpected break at home.

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