Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As the month of June begins, I know that many of you will be taking vacations with family and friends this summer. Having recently come back from vacation, it made me wonder about what a gift time off can be.
We often struggle with time off in our culture. Time is viewed as such a valuable commodity that we want to spend it wisely. (Notice the word choice there—we “spend” time, as if it were money.) Time spent doing nothing—or nothing productive anyway—can be seen as lazy or wasteful. It’s hard to stop checking email, to stop worrying about what might need your attention. Even on vacation, we sometimes try to fit so much into the time that we wind up more tired than when we started.
But, it’s actually a gift from God. It’s the gift of Sabbath. In confirmation this year, we used a book called Manna and Mercy, which tells the whole story of the Bible. God giving the Israelites manna in the wilderness is a really important part of the story. God uses the manna to teach the people important lessons. 1. God gives manna for all. 2. Hoarding stinks. 3. The gift of sabbath.
The manna never falls on the seventh day of the week. Enough manna falls on the sixth day to feed the people on both days. As our book describes this lesson, “Humans do not have to work every day to receive and distribute God’s manna. The extra time is a beautiful gift of God which makes it possible for humans and animals and earth to rest. Sabbath allows humans to experience full time the wonder of friendship—with God and others and all creation.”
We all need time off to rest, to refresh ourselves, and to experience renewed relationships with God and with each other. God knows this, but do we? This summer, whether you’re going away or not, let’s appreciate the gift of sabbath. Take time for simply being, time to reconnect to family,
friends, and God. Cherish the time with people around you, wherever you are.
Gracious Lord, thank you for the gift of our time, and thank you for the gift of sabbath rest. May we be refreshed and renewed through these months and drawn always in love to you and our neighbors. Guard and keep us this summer and always. Amen.