So what are you doing after graduating? (Part 2)

So you might be thinking, “That’s great Cassie, but what are you actually doing after graduation?”

I am on Sabbatical!

I am exhausted and I need some time to process all that has happened over the last four years. I need time to let everything I have learned to marinate a bit more. I need time to rest and recover before diving back into fulltime ministry. And I truly believe that God has something specific for me to listen for this year.

Walter Brueggemann talks about Sabbath as Christianity’s forgotten inheritance, in his book Sabbath as Resistance.[1] Meaning, that Christianity has let go of the commandment that actually orients our lives in right order with God. Within the Christian church, specifically the North American and white church that I am familiar with, the primary emphasis is focused on the Lord’s Day. The celebration of Christ’s resurrection is vitally important, yet should not replace Sabbath. Each holds very different foci and should be held with equal standing.

The Jewish theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel describes the fullness of Sabbath as a reorientation of life, in his book The Sabbath.[2] This reorientation encourages God’s people to shift the way they think about how they live every-day-life. Sabbath is what reminds God’s people who they are and who they belong to. It also realigns God’s people to rely on God and not themselves. You prepare for Sabbath by redesigning your rhythms to prioritize God over all other things. When Sabbath is intentionally prepared for well and actually practiced as rest, remembering and delight are the results.[3]

The question that stirs up for me is – what does Christian Sabbath actually look like? I think the answer is complicated and is possibly a different blog post. Nonetheless, I am going to take a shot at making this year my Sabbath.

Sabbath is about four key themes: rest, delight, listening, and God's provision. Each theme plays itself out differently and here is how I am intend to encounter them all:

Rest

I've got rest pretty much down... Sleeping in, reading silly books, and painting are all activities that bring me rest and rejuvenation. I haven’t actually painted yet… but I will. It has been interesting to actually let my body truly, fully relax. At first it was work just allow for my mind and body to release the need to be working towards something. It probably took 4 weeks to really let go of the need to produce. I never realized how dependent my life, mind, and body had become on producing something all the time. I still have to fight against the urge to be a functioning member of society, but there is also something very freeing about not having to prove my worth to the world.

Delight

Delight and joy can be so many different adventures, things or activities. So far, this summer it has meant: speaking at Westminster Woods for their junior high camp, visiting a of friend and her family in San Diego, long phone conversations with loved ones, enjoying concerts, getting happy hour with friends, visiting the San Francisco MoMa with good friends, spending time walking through the Redwood trees, watching ridiculous television, and reconnecting with my family.

Delight can be hard for me sometimes. Often I don’t believe that I actually deserve delight – to have joy. Yet, Phil Nellis, in a class he taught on Sabbath at The Seattle School, explained that delight is more that just a good feeling, it is about our capacity to worship God.[4] Therefore, to truly have an encounter with God is to delight with God. As I consider delight in my life I ask myself, “What would make me and God smile?”

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[1] Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014), x.

[2] Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, 2005), 14.  

[3] Heschel, The Sabbath, 13-24.

[4] Phil Nellis, “The Sabbath, Judaism , and The Old Testament” (Lecture, Spirituality and Sabbath, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, Seattle WA September 29, 2016).