Sabbath: Well-being, Not Endless Work

Sabbath: Well-being, Not Endless Work

Joining the staff of the Benedictine Center enables me to practice and help others practice the discipline of Sabbath. Like all who come here, I am drawn to the ways in which the Sisters and the staff live out the values of simplicity, hospitality, and prayerful discernment. The Monastery exudes a spirit of calm, providing space for people to rest.

While modern Christians do not often practice Sabbath as regularly as our Jewish brothers and sisters, we still need times when we set aside our task lists to remember that we are created in the image of a God who rested after amazing acts of creation. We need times to step outside of our regular work routines and remember that we are “human beings,” not just “human doings.” These times remind us we are beloved just as we are and that God’s love does not depend on us producing or creating or doing anything.

As Hebrew Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann writes in his book, Sabbath as Resistance,

“Divine rest on the seventh day of creation has made clear (a) that YHWH is not a workaholic, (b) that YHWH is not anxious about the full functioning of creation, and (c) that the well-being of creation does not depend on endless work…In our own contemporary context of the rat race of anxiety, the celebration of Sabbath is an act of both resistance and alternative…because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods.”

I am grateful to be part of the team at the Benedictine Center and to help welcome people into a time to rest, as they remember that the well-being of creation does not depend on their endless work. Working in a place that practices times of silence, rest and prayer is a great joy. This spirit infuses everything that happens at the Benedictine Center: spiritual direction, personal retreats, and program offerings. I look forward to being a fellow sojourner with you as we, together, practice Sabbath.

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