Encounter: Meditate on the words of Jesus in the book of John chapter 15 and look up the meaning of “abide” or in some translations “remain” in the Greek. Use Biblegateway to look at different translations. Now read Mark 2:27-28 in the NLT and look up the word Sabbath and write down its definition. Read Exodus 20:18-11, what distinguishes Sabbath from a day off?
In the war-torn city of Sarajevo the sound of music could be heard throughout the streets around the square. For 22 days at 4 in the afternoon, under the threat of snipers and artillery shells, a lone musician dressed in his tuxedo stepped into the bombed-out shell of the famous library and set up his cello playing Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor. Vedran Smailović became a reminder that even in the chaos and ashes of a world gone wrong, we have a choice to stop, sit in the mess of it all with courage and honor the beauty of life that remains.
We may not be living in a city torn apart by bombs, but we do live in a world gone wrong, with battles of our own. We may not be able to change what comes at us each day, but we have the choice to stop trying to control everything and trust God, rest from our work, enjoy what we have been given by God and contemplate the hidden miracle of life all around us in his gifts to us. This is the place where we attend to the movements of God’s Spirit within us while we discover in our own chaos what it is to experience life with God.
This week in our Emotionally Healthy Spirituality study, we are learning how The Daily Office, silence and solitude, creating a rule of life, the meditation of scripture, retreat and Sabbath keeping can help us to slow down to God’s rhythm. When we are busier than we need to be Thomas Merton tells us we can do violence to ourselves and those around us. He writes,
There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence…activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence…It kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
The essence of emotionally healthy spirituality is to build rhythms into our daily lives to open up space to attend to our souls so we live out of a rich store of what God is cultivating deep within. When we live this way, we show a shockingly different lifestyle in a world that works to steal the peace and beauty of our lives every day by crowding God out of our lives.
It takes courage to sit in the ruins and live so counter culturally but when we do “we practice eternity in time.” Like playing the cello in the ruins, the music of our lives will play and the expression will cause people to recognize that the beauty is of God. You too will have learned a new song. So take time to play.
A new song for a new day rises up in me every time I think about how he breaks through for me! Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until everyone hears how God has set me free. Many will see his miracles; they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him! (Psalm 40:3)
Playing with you,
Reflect: How healthy is your present rhythm of life? Do you have a daily and weekly plan that gives space to enjoy life and your relationship with God? What do you need to stop that relates to your work that hinders you from taking a Sabbath rest and what activities places or people create rest and delight for you?
Encourage: Consider reading a book about creating new healthy rhythms to encourage your next steps. Crafting a Rule of Life by Stephen A Macchia or Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives. Think about how you can be intentional: Stop, Rest, Delight and Contemplate as Pete describes it in Chapter 6.
Gather: Create a Rule of Life and decide on what 24-hour period of time you will set aside as your Sabbath each week. Share with one other person your plans for accountability. Check back with them in a month and share your challenges and blessings in this new rhythm.
Photo taken from http://voiceproject.org/music-and-conflict-transformation/