April 3, 2014

Sabbath. Rest. It is a theme that runs throughout Scripture – being introduced on the very first page. It is a theme that I have heard countless sermons on, and preached a few myself. It is a theme that I have tried to embrace in my own life, with varying degrees of success. It is a theme that I have been able to embrace in a profound way over the past three months – during my sabbatical.

I am so grateful to Lakeshore for the gift of my three-month sabbatical. Time is precious – one of the most precious commodities for the working middle-class – and often in limited supply. Receiving the gift of time – without obligations – is one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given – and I have cherished it immensely. I have had time to sleep, time to dream, time to read and time to think. I have had time to enjoy the people I love and the things I love doing. I have had time to take adventures and explore my unfolding vocation. I have had time to clean my house and clear my soul. I have had time to remember how much I love being a pastor at Lakeshore and to savor the joy of knowing that I return to a community seeking to share God’s love with others.

Rest is meant to be a pause in the much bigger stories of our lives, and I look forward to returning to the work God has called me to – has called us to – the work of pursuing justice, embodying kindness and walking humbly with God. As I return to my work, however, I pray that I will carry with me a renewed reminder for the importance of rest – on a weekly basis. I know that rest is a countercultural activity in our fast-paced society – but it is still a mandate given to us by God. And as I have been reminded these past three months, rest is not meant to take us away from our meaningful work lives, but to allow us to embrace them more fully. It is often rest that allows us to walk humbly with God, which allows us to pursue justice and embody kindness.

May we all find ways in the months ahead to work and rest – for the glory of God and the good of Oakland.