The Strangest Sabbath Moment

The Strangest Sabbath Moment

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath…” Mk 2:27

Once while I worked at Koinonia, a year-round camp and retreat center, our staff endured a particularly difficult stretch of time. We had a 30-day period where a group was on-site every day. School groups would come for environmental education from Monday to Friday. At the same time, we hosted a program for retired adults called, Elderhostel. They would arrive Sunday evening and leave Friday at noon. When the mid-week groups were done, a full slate of weekend groups would arrive.

Hosting groups required every staff members’ involvement. We all needed to help lead hikes, teach environmental education and plan Taize prayers. Then there was setting tables, doing dishes and keeping the fires stoked in the wood burning furnaces heating each building. In the short time between groups, we all had to clean the retreat buildings and conference center rooms. The work was exhausting and unrelenting.

One Sunday afternoon, when the groups had all gone and no one new was coming in, I found myself standing in front of a pile of junk. It was stuff we had gathered to throw away. Without thinking, I picked up a rock and threw it at the pile. The rock broke something made of glass. It felt good, so I threw another rock and then another and then another. As I was throwing rocks, my wife found me and asked what I was doing. I said, “Breaking crap.” Then she picked up a rock and joined me. Another staff member found us and asked what we were doing. Together we said, “Breaking crap.”

One by one, each person on staff found us. They all asked what we were doing and each time the group responded, “Breaking crap.” Within a short time, the whole staff was there throwing rocks at a pile of junk. This emotionally, spiritually, and physically drained people started laughing and our joy was restored. It was one of the strangest and healthiest sabbath moments of my life.

I doubt this would be a great sermon illustration for most pastors. Truthfully, it does not sound all that holy, but it was certainly healthy. We teach people to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. These words are clear in scripture, but it also sounds like people are children who need to sit in a time out chair. Sabbath rest is a gift given by God to help us be healthy. Jesus clearly understands this meaning. I hope you do to.

Click to read: Mark 2: 23-28

Discussion Questions:

  • Where do you find yourself stressed by busyness? Is it at work, at home, at church?
  • How can you create sabbath from this busyness?
  • How much of your stress is from the outside and how much is from within?
  • Where do you find spiritual rest and renewal?

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.com and Seth Doyle

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