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Amma Sue - February 2015
“Stop the world I want to get off!” – a heartfelt cry that can be found on the lips of all of us from time to time as life seems to be getting busier and busier. Far from providing the utopian future of ‘time saving machines’ and ‘paperless offices’ technology and IT seem rather to have created even more pressure with instant messaging, emails and texts; while mobile phones mean that even on holiday there is no escape from the cares and toils of the modern world. Which is not say that technology has not made much of modern life easier and healthier but it is the abiding weakness of humanity that inextricably mixed into the benefits we always manage to find ourselves embroiled in the negative effects which can so often drag us down in a spiral of ‘busyness.’ And it so often seems that even our leisure time is crammed full of activities and ‘things to do and see’!
That’s not the biblical view however. It’s interesting to note that in the first Genesis account of creation [Genesis 1 – 2.3] the first thing God created after creating humankind was a Sabbath rest! And it’s notable that a Sabbath rest was included in the Ten Commandments [Exodus 20. 8-11]. While the Book of Leviticus legislates for the land to be included and commands that ever seven years the land should rest [Leviticus 25, 1-7]. Clearly God would heartily endorse the old saying “All work and no play makes a Jack (and Jill) a dull boy (and girl)! And while teaching that the Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath [Mark 2,25], Jesus also made sure that he and his disciples took time to rest [e.g. Mark 6, 31].
St Benedict was concerned that his monks lived a balance life and included in his Rule times of rest, meditation, worship and work. And even modern psychology is convinced that for human beings to be both physically and mentally healthy then we all need times of rest and refreshment. Without times of rest and refreshment our physical, mental and spiritual life becomes dry, anxious and depressing.
Now we can’t replicated Joshua’s miracle and make the sun stand still [Joshua 10, 12-13] it is possible to explore the idea of some “Sabbath” down time; and during 2015 there will be a monthly opportunity to do that on every second Tuesday of the month at Balderstone Church. Sister Judith and I will be organising a monthly Silent Space Day, and opportunity to “get off the world” for a while – well actually from 10.00am -3.00pm. Beginning with a short reflection the day is then open to you to do as you please: pray, meditate, read, go for a walk, even sleep if you want to and closes with a short act of worship! No need to book, just turn up with your sandwiches! We’ll provide tea, coffee and biscuits and we’re asking for a suggested donation of £3.00 for the day to cover costs. Each day is stand-alone so you don’t have to make a monthly commitment just come when you can.
So why not book a little ‘Sabbath rest’ into the diary and come along “to a quiet place…and rest awhile.”
With blessings Amma Sue.
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