Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the Journey Towards Claiming the Sabbath

I came across this reflection in a Henri Nouwen Society newsletter. It was written by Doug Wiebe. Doug has been a member of L'Arche since 1989 and currently fills the role of community leader in L'Arche Lethbridge, Alberta. He also serves as a lay preacher and congregational chairperson for the Lethbridge Mennonite Church. He is married and has one son.

Like many other overanxious first-time parents, I used to go into my son's room at night to make sure he was still breathing. Now I go in because I know he's resting. I want (and need) to welcome him into my life not only when he's awake and busy but also when he's asleep.

Perhaps the way a child sleeps after a day full of discovery is similar to the way God rested after he finished creating the world. Perhaps the love, gratitude and awe we feel when we watch our sleeping children is similar to the way God wants us to be aware of his presence during our times of quiet.

Imagine that the hours of our Sabbath day of rest are no longer numbers on a clock but pillars supporting a beautiful temple. Sleeping in perfect peace in the centre of this temple is the Creator of the universe. Our Sabbath invitation is to enter into this "temple of time" and to simply rest with God, who on this day has nothing but time.

I don't know the details of how this happens for any one of us. What I do know is that there was a marked contrast between my experience of my son during the work of toilet training and my experience of him when I watched him sleeping in my arms or in his crib. I need both experiences, and so does my son. The same goes for our relationship with God. May God continue to show us how to enter into the Sabbath temple of time to learn more and more how to rest with, and in, God.

I often do go check on my little ones after they have fallen asleep. Our house is so wild and crazy when they are awake. Seeing them resting peacefully is always a comfort!!

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