Monday, February 27, 2006

The Profound Simplicity of Sabbath

This weekend I went with a group from our church to the Indiana Covenant Men's Retreat. On Friday night, we were asked what we expected or desired to get out of the retreat. This was something I had not really thought about at all, but when it came to my turn, I found myself stating that I wanted the weekend to be a Sabbath. Simple words, but I would not find out how profound they were until the next afternoon.

Saturday after lunch we were graciously granted free time until dinner. This meant five hours of unscheduled time. A lot of the men went to the gym to play basketball or volleyball. A few went for a short drive up to a little place that made homemade maple syrup. Some went on group hikes, bike rides, or played dominoes or euchre.

The first thought in my mind after lunch was that I did not want any interaction with others for a while. I sensed that God had some business with me. I sensed a need to truly keep a Sabbath, if even for an afternoon.

God brought many things to my attention. I spent a solid three hours in His creation, reading, journaling, talking aloud to Him, wrestling with Him, being confronted with a whole lot of ugliness within myself, and ultimately, beginning to learn to love myself and accept His love for me. Quite a productive few hours, eh? Intimate. Profound. Simple.

One catalyst for all these realizations was a book written by Brennan Manning with the assistance of Jim Hancock entitled Posers, Fakers and Wannabes: Unmasking the Real You. I will be reflecting further on the book and the truths which the Holy Spirit confronted me through it over the next few days.

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