My last Shabbat reflection was a poem about a bird in Rehavia. She’s a fine little darlin’ and she is still singing. Always in the morning she sings, sometimes at night, and every now and then she belts out her beautiful melody in the middle of the night. I’m puzzled when she sings at night. Maybe she is so happy that the rest of Jerusalem is sleeping that she is compelled to sing. Maybe, in fact, it’s the only time she can hear herself sing.
Shabbat is a time when we should be able to hear ourselves sing. It doesn’t really matter what the song is that we are singing. An aria, a dirge. Mournful, contemplative, joyful, the song that you sing is the song of your heart and the very essence of what is stirring inside of you.
But if you can’t hear your song, what is the point of singing? If you can’t hear the rhythm of your heart and listen to its nuanced notes you become nothing more than, as Paul writes in Corinthians, a noisy gong or a clanging symbol in a world of loud and boisterous voices.
The Sabbath gives you the time and the space to listen to your unique and beloved song. What an incredible gift that God has given us in this Shabbat. In fact Shabbat is not only a gift but it is built directly into the rhythm of life. Sabbath rest is intentional, no, essential for us. First to give glory, honor, and praise to God who loves us dearly, and secondly to be able to hear our song and to listen to the yearning, the need, the love that resides in our hearts. Being true to ourselves in this created and sometime dangerously noisy world is what God desires for us.
I will go to bed this evening and will sleep with one ear opened. I sleep in delightful expectation of the Rehavia bird’s song. Her melody is a soothing reminder of God. Of love. Of silence, and of rest.