02 Nov Sabbath Gifts from the Sea
I recently spent a week at the beach. It was my first time to ever be at the beach in late autumn, and I had no idea what I was missing. The weather was perfect, and the beach was deserted. There was virtually no traffic, no waiting for tables in restaurants, and no sunburn. I walked for an hour each day, slept an embarrassing amount, ate seafood like every meal was my last, read and journaled, and delighted in having no schedule or responsibilities for a full week. But, mostly, I feasted on the elements of wind, sky, water and sand.
As soon as I walked into our rented house, I threw open the windows which remained open until the morning I left. Day and night my soul was restored by the sounds and sights of nature’s rhythms—the tide marching reliably in and out, the squawk of birds swooping low over the salt spray to catch unsuspecting prey, the bright appearance of Venus in the pre-dawn sky, the roar of wind-swept waves slapping the shore, the dark gray horizon surrendering to cloud-diffused pinks and oranges before finally and fully yielding to the fiery ball of light that would not be denied.
As I sat on the deck, blanket wrapped tight around me, a steaming cup of tea in hand to watch the sunrise each morning, there was something deeply comforting about knowing that these stars, this water, this sky have stood watch over human history without flinching. They are unperturbed by the incessant drama, crises and intrigue that dominate so much of each day’s headlines. Instead, they are relentlessly consistent, doggedly faithful in executing the purposes for which they were designed.
That is not to make light of the horrific human suffering that mars our world. But, by leaving the news off for a week and immersing myself instead in the timelessness of the beauty that appeared in front of me, my soul received some badly needed recalibration. I was reminded of the fleeting nature of the latest scandal de jour, of politics (and politicians), of the worries and criticisms and uncertainties that dot the landscape of my life. The sun will rise and set each day regardless—which is another way to say that God is present and active and faithful no matter what my circumstances or today’s news might seem to indicate.
As the wind blew my hair in any ole’ direction it had a mind to, it occurred to me that I was experiencing a genuine Sabbath. . The intricacies the universe, much (most?) of which we haven’t even probed yet, tell us that God has already thought of everything we might ever need, and it is already available in abundance.
How is it that I let these eternal truths get so easily crowded out of my consciousness once I am back in traffic, managing the chronic maintenance of laundry and bills and a yard full of leaves, confronting a lengthy “to do” list that seems to incessantly nag at me, especially since the calendar now taunts me with the word, “November”? Clearly, my Sabbath practices need an honest re-appraisal which is one of the gifts the beach sent home with me. That, and some sand still clinging to my tennis shoes.
Yours for the Kingdom,