A Different Pace: Toward Sabbath in Summer

God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation. — Genesis 2:2-3 (CEB)

Rest is vital to physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Teachings on sabbath and rest appear in many ancient myths and teachings, including those of the Hebrew Scriptures. In Genesis, God sets the very example for all of creation: create>care>commune>celebrate>REST. The command to observe sabbath, which comes as #4 of the Big Ten (Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.), is not just for the group or person receiving the command directly. It is for anyone and everything in the earth – all who labor, including the animals, and even the land itself.

Rest reminds us that the created world holds intrinsic value apart from any work or productivity. Rest reminds us that we are interconnected with one another (and the whole created world, for that matter), and that our taking sabbath-keeping can create space for rest that others need, too. And rest just reminds us that—oh, right—we need to rest as a part of being healthy and whole.

The principle of sabbath applies to life in a church parish, just as it does to our own persons and other circles of relationship. During the program year, we all at St. Michael’s keep our foot on the gas, from All Saints to Pentecost (and Broadway Night!). There are brief pauses and respites throughout, but seldom time for deep breaths and time to reset. In summertime, we get as close as we can get to such sabbath. Things will not shut down – we will continue worshiping and praying, serving and connecting. But we will try to slow down and set a pace that allows everyone time and space for rest.

Already, the choirs are pressing through toward a fabulous Broadway Night this weekend. It will be big and fun (and a little crazy). And then our choirs will take a summer hiatus.

There are also two changes coming at the end of June that will help us make room for rest for all who serve in the St. Michael’s community: Sunday worship schedule and office hours.

Beginning on June 30, through September 1, the Summer Worship Schedule will be:

8:00 am (traditional language, no music);

10:00 am (alternating between 9:00 & 11:00 liturgies with hymns and special musical offerings); and

1:00 pm (traditional liturgy in Spanish).

(We’ll return to the regular schedule of four services and choirs on September 8.)

For July and August, office hours will go to three days per week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. (This doesn’t mean those are necessarily the only hours staff will be working, but it will afford more flexibility to take time away when it works with family schedules.)

I want to encourage everyone to take time for rest this summer. Go to the beach, take a hike in the forest, hang out in the mountains, lounge at the park, read good books, barbecue and hang out with friends, take a nap. Pray. Breathe. Rest.

With you,

The Rev. R. Scott Painter, Rector
Email: ScottP@stmaa.org