Summer Sabbath: A Reflection
By Sheila O'Handley,
There is an internal compass in each of us which gives direction to the true, the good, the beautiful, and the transcendent. We also know when we have found it and when we haven’t. The human story testifies that in response to the quest of these values people have sought ways in ritual, symbol, story-telling, and sacrament, to name and celebrate both the transcendent experience and the Transcendent – God. So they designed days, times, seasons, and places as holy, and in time conceived Sabbath. (Sabbath – the Old English word “sabat” as observed by the Jews, means “day of rest”, or Sabbath.)
Finally, after the long days of winter, and an exceptionally cooler spring , we are anticipating the warmth of summer: resting, relaxing, vacationing, celebrating with family, friends, and good food. We need these moments of shared gathering, shared life and community, as fleeting as they might be, to enrich and nourish the human spirit, and experience the heart as grateful. In essence we long for community, for in the presence of authentic community, our need for individualism slowly begins to disappear.
It is interesting to note that in the Christian Scriptures, Matthew 18:20, we have Jesus supporting shared gatherings – shared life, in the words, “Where two or three meet in my name I shall be there with them”. What is even more interesting is, he doesn’t limit his presence to the Church buildings. One gets a sense that these summer gatherings just might be centers of the holy as Jesus makes his presence felt among us in these moments of summer Sabbath. Let us enjoy and be present to the silent guest among us as we take rest to celebrate and gather with family and friends.