Of all the reflections in Chapter 5 of Receiving the Day, this one on page 66 really stood out to me:
Jürgen Moltmann, an eminent German theologian, ended his book on the theology of creation with a radical suggestion: “The ecological day of rest should be a day without pollution of the environment–a day when we leave our cars at home, so that nature too can celebrate its Sabbath.” Fifty years ago, before the building of the freeways and the suburbs, many American Christians might have found in this suggestion an endorsement of their way of life. Then, churches had small parking lots and served neighborhoods or parishes, and people walked. But things have changed. Read more »
Sabbath-keeping, for our family, is more about what we do than what we don’t do. For us, Sabbath is about choosing to make time for the things that renew us. Most Fridays, we sleep as long as we want to (in Eliza’s case) or as long as possible (in the case of her parents). We enjoy a leisurely breakfast together. We relax and read the paper on the porch. We sit on the floor and play. Long walks and talks are a crucial part of the day — whether we amble through our neighborhood and down along the river, or venture further for an adventure at our favorite county and state parks. We often have friends over for a meal, or meet at a restaurant for dinner. The main idea of the Sabbath, for us, is to settle into a pace that isn’t rushed.
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Chapter 3 of Receiving the Day seems, most essentially, about making choices. Dorothy Bass encourages the reader to exercise choice about how we use our bodies throughout the day. I liked the connection she drew between respecting our bodies and “honoring the integrity of each twenty-four-hour period” (32). If we make choices throughout the day that correspond to our bodies’ needs for nourishment, rest, and exercise, then we live with hearts and minds open to possibility.
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A few weeks ago, Jane blogged about reading the first chapter of Receiving the Day while en route to my ordination. She described the irony of reading about sacred time while caught up in air travel hell. As I read chapter 2, “This Is the Day that God Made,” I’m caught in a similar tension. Bass writes about how we divide up our days into hours and minutes, frantically rushing to fill those slots in “appropriate” and “productive” ways. She then encourages creating a different kind of rhythm for ourselves–a pattern of thought, prayer, and worship that remind us about our relationship with God and the gift of each day. I was grateful that Bass admits she herself struggles to follow this practice (pp. 23-4)–because God knows I do too! Indeed, as I write this blog post, my mind is racing with countless obligations, commitments, and to-do lists.
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