Thursday, February 25, 2010
making sabbath rest
It seems like God had America in mind when God assigned a day of rest as one of the ten commandments. In all three listings in Exodus (two of them) and Deuteronomy, God is so very clear about the Sabbath day. And in the creation myth God names the Sabbath day as the first "Holy thing" which is a big deal for God because calling something Holy is just not done lightly in scripture.
This little pottery studio on the edge of the pond by the forest is my icon for sabbath rest. I go there to be alone and though I love to invite friends into it, I do so rarely. The building is surrounded by windows and flooded from inside with industrial lights. It is warmed by a wood stove and has cathedral ceilings (well, perhaps not "cathedral"...perhaps more like "sort-oflarge vaulted church ceilings).
When people say to me "Oh I wish I could meditate every day" and "I wish I could be an artist" my response is simple: :"Set aside a place for it and it will happen."
If you want to pray daily, find a comfortable chair away from the center of the action and place next to it a prayer book. Go there daily - even when you don't feel like it. If you want to do some creative act like knitting or painting or poetry or calligraphy or jewelry making - just set a small place aside, keep the materials there - never move them - and it will call to you. The place itself will actually call you over to it. I can't explain it but it is true. The "place" will come alive and it will summon you , woo you, coax you, call to you, whisper to you, seduce you.
I believe creativity is one of the most powerful forces for good in the world. And anything that cuts at creativity, the most damaging.
Sabbath rest is not just sitting there covered in Cheeto dust in front of a television or a computer. Sabbath rest is ideally infused with creativity - making things happen - generativity.
As we look around us at this creation, it is constantly giving birth to itself. The creation is constantly creating new species and new life within those species. God is constantly creating new life from death. If we are - and we indeed are- made in God's image, well then we are made to create. And not creating is not living into our fullest humanity.
The creativity of raising children well, the creativity of reinventing vocations and marriages rather than simply casting them off in exchange for some new bauble, the creativity of making a good soup and inviting two friends over for conversation and the creativity of a potter or a painter or a writer are all a response to Gods gentle whisper:"Take what I have given you and MAKE something wonderful!"
And the weird thing is that the "work" of creativity seems to me to be more restful and more fulfilling than just "spending time" on things unworthy of being the artists we all naturally are made to be and to become.