I think that I have taken the meaning of Sabbath rest to the extreme. It's not that I've had a wild and crazy week here in Jerusalem. I haven't stuffed myself full of turkey and dressing, cranberries and pumpkin pie so that I need to sleep it off. Nor did I get up yesterday at 5:00 am in order to get to the stores for morning madness Christmas shopping. No, none of that, I just slept until 11:45 am on my own. I did not have to get up in time for anything. There was nothing on my mind that prevented me from sleep. And so, I did. And I feel good.
I do think that this is what God means for us to rest. Maybe not stay in bed half of the day, but to take one day and entirely rest from worry, work, and running around like crazed people. To stop everything that we are doing and to relax, rest our bodies and our minds. Perhaps we don't realize what we do to ourselves, how we drive ourselves to the brink of exhaustion and then do just a little more. Or maybe we do but fail to listen to our bodies and minds and creation around us. Who are we giving honor to then?
Shabbat, the Sabbath is a time to stop what we are doing and to give honor to God and to all that God has unselfishly given us. Today the sun is out and I can feel the warm rays on my hands as I type this reflection. I can hear birds chirping and a dog barking in a distance. I see roses and bougainvilleas refusing to give up their glorious colored blooms to the ever changing season around me. There are leaves that have dropped and are brown on the edges and other leaves that have turned golden yellow but continue to cling to the branches. I can hear a father and his children singing about Shabbat and then laughing together and a little boy runs past me in the street kicking a ball because he could. What do you notice today?
Our hearts can open so much more fully to what's around us when we are rested and when we take the time to do so. God can speak to us, move us in ways that we might miss otherwise when we are busy "doing" life. And, conversely and more importantly, we can give honor to God, fully and without complication when we stop what it is we are doing, and rest. Honor and love to the God who, for us has given the Sabbath, who for us has modeled a way to live in this world.