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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sabbath Prayers

Christians worship on "the Lord's Day" which is the 8th day. Day 1, Sunday, was the beginning of creation. Easter Sunday, the 8th day, is the beginning of the new creation. This idea and image are very ancient. It is also somewhat metaphorical. Literally, there have been far more days. I have calendars of life piled up, 52 weeks times each year of life places me at 2500+ or something over 1750 days.

But metaphors are real. They grasp at reality while pointing at reality. They humbly say, "this is it, but not fully." The metaphor of the 8th day means that we have already begun the new creation (Paul: all things are new) even as we are still earth bound in the daily toil and struggle of life (John: what will be has not yet been revealed). There are many metaphors and analogies about our faith journey. When seen that way it allows us to embrace life from many angles without a fear of contradiction. Reality and God are so much larger than our words and images....

So in prayer today, cobbling together the Russian pilgrim's Jesus Prayer, the psalms of Israel and readings from the texts of both Covenants as well as my own ongoing 100 prayers of thanks, I found myself drawn to a resting prayer. The simplification of prayer is pulling me to a calmer presence with God. Like many others, I am duty driven and success motivated. I want to do it right. God's gracious reminder is "being in, with and for" God is most important. Weighing words and phrases, searching for the correct titles and forms of address can be a distraction at times.

Today is Saturday, the Sabbath. We are not under The Torah compliance which requires we keep Sabbath. It is not our law. But Sabbath is our deepest need. It is a gift from God. So we do well to have Sabbath, if not a day, at least a time. A time each day, and an extended time each week. Time to ignore the pressing concerns, to turn off the timer and put down the to-do lists. Time to breathe, slowly and deeply. Time to intentionally look to God, who is far away and is near. Time to repeat word, dozens of times, which will center our hearts on Him. Meditating on His identity and submitting ourselves to Him.

Here I am Lord. Rule me. Guard and Guide me.
Thank you Lord. For this day. For salvation.
over and over and over. Five or ten minutes. WIth a grateful smile on your face and a tension free posture. Just being in God. With God. For God.
Enjoying a time of rest. Needed rest.

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