Certainly God is not a god in a hurry. That’s clear.
– John Polkinghorne, physicist and Anglican priest, on NPR’s On Being
God took a Sabbath. We might think that, once the Creator had gotten all the parts in place, God would be anxious to rush on to the next steps. But no, God rested on the seventh day. And ever since, God’s processes seem to be slow and deliberate.
Clearly, we are more advanced than God (!) We no longer seem to require a regular time for resting and soaking in the goodness of all that God created. Many of us are wired, or wi-fi’d, to work and other concerns even when we make a pretense of Sabbathing.
Apparently, we also have a leg up on our parents (or grandparents), too. Going through some old books to donate to BPC’s yard sale, I found an aged clipping from a WWII newspaper. Quote: Vacations are recognized by government officials as important to the health, welfare and efficiency of the American public during the time of all-out war effort, and the limited use of the automobile for a vacation…is not inconsistent with conservation nor is it un-patriotic. During the all-out effort of that war, Americans were still encouraged by our government to go on vacation!
When we do not Sabbath, or allow adequate time to appreciate the goodness of God’s creation, a lot of things get left behind – including reverence for God and fully valuing the lives of those most precious to us. Our children learn from our hyperactive, hyper-connected patterns.
It seems to me that one of the greatest joys of real time away from the pressures of work, even if it is just for a brief time each day, is the luxury of paying attention. When we cease trying to focus on multiple issues or electronic devices, we can be more intentional, mindful, of each thing we see or do. John Walsh, author and art historian, in a speech at Wheaton College, said:
Do one thing at a time. Give each experience all your attention. Try to resist being distracted by other sights and sounds, other thoughts and tasks, and when it is, guide your mind back to what you’re doing.
This is a discipline which we can learn to work on as we go about our everyday tasks. But even better, maybe it could start with some genuine Sabbath time, or vacation, this summer.
It is a good way to become re-acquainted with that slow-paced God of scripture.