Over the years I have learned the wisdom of “taking a break”, taking a day off and going somewhere I haven’t been in a long time or have never seen. The object isn’t to meet up with someone, or go shopping, or sit in an audience of some kind. The object is have a chance to “be”. Because we like history, these little trips often involve checking out some historical site. Sometimes the object is a change in scenery (the Chesapeake Bay, the mountains, farmland).
The by-product is an “attitude adjustment”. It takes me away from the requirements of the day and provides space for my imagination to roam. Often, on one of these outings, it is the unexpected that captures my attention and stays with me.
This is its own kind of Sabbath time. In the first story of creation, we are told that on the seventh day God rested. In the Ten Commandments we are told that we are to also take Sabbath time. Most people associate that with coming to church on Sunday mornings. And that certainly fits the description. But, it is also those intentional times when we stop what we are doing and take the time to be present in the moment somewhere away from our daily duties. For those who are unable to get away, this is where taking a book and reading (or listening to an audio version) can provide an alternative.
This past Friday we took one of those mini-trips. We drove to Fredericksburg and explored the archeologically reconstructed boyhood home of George Washington on the Rappahannock River. Our tour guide was talented in getting us out of the 21st century and back into the 1700s. Who ever thought that wig rollers might be a sign of a cottage industry to earn a little money? George Washington was brought up by a single mom (his dad died when he was six) with five children that lived into adulthood, and in a five-room house which was very small. Education was valued, but not so easily accomplished as in our day. And there was no artificial air-conditioning! The mini-trip allowed my imagination to consider what life might have been like and the challenges Mary Ball Washington faced.
But then the unexpected……It was a beautiful summer day. The summer flowers were beginning to bloom in the garden. The view of the river was relaxing. And the magnolias were in full bloom. I love magnolia trees. They are majestic on their own, but when they bloom, they enter another level. I had just been reading the poetry of the first creation story in preparation for Sunday’s sermon. There was a fully developed magnolia tree in full bloom on the property.
The gift of Grace from this sabbath taking day was that tree.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those that dwell therein…Psalm 24:1