A famous photographer once said that as he matured in his art, he found increasing beauty in things as simple as the late afternoon sun as it falls on the side of a house. There is an essence there that I cannot capture on film or CCD: it is, I think, the tranquil beauty of a heart at peace.
It's been a while since I last blogged; things have been very very busy both at work and in church ministries -- and those two circles have pretty much occupied the entirety of my time! But I've been trying hard to preserve Saturdays as a Sabbath rest: when I cease striving, put my to-do list on hold, and find my contentment in Christ alone. It's been kinda fun to work a little harder during the week so that I can get my errands done before Saturday. I look forward to it as a special date with God.
When God provided daily manna for the Israelites, He told them to gather twice as much on the sixth day, so that they wouldn't have to go out on the Sabbath. In the same way, I need to prepare my heart and consecrate myself for the Sabbath.
Often, I'm not really ready for the Sabbath: my heart is tense; my mind is racing with ideas and arguments and words unsaid; my hands clenched and brow furrowed. But our Lord is so patient: as I come before Him and acknowledge His presence, He softens my heart, stills my mind, and renews my body.
This morning, I slept in quite late and still had to run a few errands, swing south of the border to deposit checks, etc. But throughout the day, through the shopping and driving and teeming crowds, God granted me a measure of peace and contentment. At the Wal-Mart in Langley, I had a chance to chat with an elderly gentleman selling poppy pins for veterans -- his sister served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, stationed in England, and barely survived a bomb blast that took out the building next door. It was both sobering and encouraging to listen to his story -- ordinarily, I talk way too much; it was so nice just to sit and listen. Later, as I crossed the border, the line-ups were long with Canadians going shopping, looking to take advantage of the exchange rate. I got a nice kick out of using my new NEXUS card -- I got to bypass the lines, the border agent was friendly, and the geek in me was thrilled with the contactless RFID chip in the card! :)
I still have a lot to learn about the Sabbath. I know I need to orient it more toward selfless service and less on my own desires. But my heart is well-prepared now for preaching and teaching Sunday school tomorrow: I have rested in the Lord. Amid everything else that I'm still frustrated or discontent with (much of which I've already blogged about here!), I can honestly say that right now, on this Sabbath evening, in the arms of my Saviour, I am truly content in Christ.
If because of the Sabbath, you turn your footFrom doing your own pleasure on My holy day,And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honourable,And honour it, desisting from your own ways,From seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word,Then you will take delight in the LORD,And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.