I have been thinking about Sabbath-keeping.  One day in seven, traditionally Saturday, we stop what we are doing and return our thoughts to God.  I know some of you will be thinking, "I thought Sunday was the Sabbath day."  There is not room enough here in a blog-post for me to fully illuminate the sad choice the church of the Middle Ages made to conflate The Lord's Day with the Sabbath Day.  I will only say that in doing so it departed from more than a thousand years of tradition, and has confused the power and meaning of the two most important days of the week.  Sabbath is not Sunday -- they are two distinct days with distinct intentions.

Sabbath is characterized by glad and trusting "rest."  It is a day on which we depart the path of the rat-race and simply relax in the conviction that there is enough for today and there will be enough for tomorrow.  I know of no other poet who speaks so powerfully of Sabbath as Wendell Berry - who dedicated many dozens of poems to the question of Sabbath and sabbath-keeping.  In 1979 he penned the following:

What ever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our 10,000 days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we’re asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.

                      -- from This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems, p.20

Prayer:  Lord, "by work of ours; the field is tilled / and left to grace."  Help us to know what is our part and then give us courage to step aside, enter into a holy rest, a deep and trusting sleep, where your great work is done.  Amen.

Paul Lang