Thursday, October 12, 2006


There is a scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in which the crew enter a tiny little tent that looks as if it could hold but one of them, but once inside, the tent is spacious, furnished, and comfortable. That is the visual that I’ve had this week since discussing the practicing of the Sabbath.
My mind has actually been using the phrase, “experiencing the Sabbath”, because it is a rest into which I can enter. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. It seems then that something that was made for me would be something that I should experience. Experience the Lord’s rest. To practice the Sabbath though, seems to be an understanding of the Sabbath that says that I was made for it.
To experience Sabbath is more like hearing the 4th commandment as an invitation rather than an order. “Remember the Sabbath Day, and keep it holy,” sounds more like an invitation of the kind that I give my wife when we part.
“Remember that I love you.”
That is certainly not a command, but an invitation. When you feel alone, remember that I love you. It’s an invitation for her to experience my love when we’re apart.
I’ve been invited to experience God’s rest. Why does it seem so confining and restrictive so often? Why does it feel like I’ve got to sacrifice things to obey a command, when I’ve been invited to experience better things? Why does the practice of Sabbath observance feel like walking into a confining little tent, when the invitation to Sabbath is a call to experience freedom and space?

Freedom and space.


I grew up in the hills of West Virginia. Montani Semper Liberi. But even then I knew people who felt hemmed in by the mountains. Claustrophobic. But I always felt that was because they lived on the surface of the experience. The true experience of anything requires one to delve deeply into it – to live deeply within it. Depth usually means exactly what the word says, below the surface. Below. But the depth in the mountains is an upward experiencing. Between the mountains IS a confining experience, but great space and freedom is felt as one moves up. The confining mountainsides slope away from one another so that as you ascend, the world opens up and the vantage is unfathomable. There is no freedom like that felt while atop a mountain.

All week I’ve been among people. Close long-time friends, brand new friends, brothers and sisters I’ve only just met. Conversing, learning, experiencing. This afternoon, I walked off alone. I walk up and up and right now I’m sitting at a lookout, all alone at over 8,000 feet.

Space, freedom, and solitude.

I accepted an invitation and I’m experiencing rather than practicing.
I’m looking out over a kingdom of paradox. It makes no sense that one would find freedom in submission, in giving up one’s rights. It makes no sense that one would find space in restriction.
But it’s all in perspective.
Throw off all encumbrances.
Take nothing for the journey.
Be cared for and provided for.

and the angels came and attended him.

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