A discipline central to seeing disciplines as community-shaped is “resting” or participating in Sabbath. Darryl Tippens’ 5th chp of Pilgrim Heart addresses this very topic.
I read this chp with anticipation. Why? Because Sabbath and resting principle of Sabbath has been devastated by our culture. We are too busy. A few years back we found that a Saturday night service had more impact on us because of the quality time we had around dinner after the service — reflecting on it, chatting about it, and generally basking in it. Sunday mornings were more difficult for us — wait around for church, attend service, come home and eat lunch and then take a nap. Is this your routine? Is there a better way? Darryl points us forward. How so?
He points to developing a life that is punctuated with the sabbatarian principle of rest. Sabbath is not just Sunday (or Saturday night). Sabbath is a way of life.
First sentence of the chp: “Rhythm.” Second sentence: “Rhythm lies at the core of all existence — natural and human.”
We are breaking down rhythms — night isn’t night anymore; we have lights that make “day” last longer. The agricultural calendar no longer obtains: we expect all foods to be in season all year long.
What happens to rhythmless lives? Our question for the day.
Sabbath in the Bible, Darryl reminds us, is “gracious permission, a blessed and humane gift, the liberty of rest” (67). So, he creates a few new beatitudes:
1. Happy are those who serve the world by abandoning it for a little while.
This is not irresponsible laziness. “Go into the desert,” he quotes Merton saying, “not to escape other men but in order to find them in God.” If children are demanding, retreat with them. If you are eating, turn off phones and TV. Daily sabbaths is what he is getting at here.
2. Happy are those who rest, for they will get their work done.
The Jewish day begins at nightfall — and that means the day begins quietly wandering its way into sleep and rest. The blue laws that we saw as legalism may be leading to rhythmless life of exhaustion.
3. Happy are the playful, for they will be serious achievers.
Creative leisure. School should be about the joyous discovery of truth rather than the imposed learning of what scores well. A work ethic needs to be balanced by a play ethic.
Chp 6 will have five more Beatitudes. Good ones too. (By the way, if you find yourselve saying, “C’mon Scot, give ’em to us now.” I’d say right back, “Easy friend. Let’s rest with these for a week. We’ll gather again next Friday, Lord willing, and ponder the next five.”)