Monday, November 24, 2014

Sabbath Disconnect

One could argue that the Christian weekly observance of the resurrection of our Lord primarily occurring on Sunday mornings between the hours of 8am and noon is an inadequate Sabbath practice. Yes I said it. Going to church every week on Sunday morning may not be “sabbathy” enough.

I’m thinking this way for a set of reasons not just one. First, remember the circumstances that led to the creation of Advent-ures. Sunday morning was not a good time for many of our young families to muster for a 9:30 start AND to do so in “love and charity” with each other. Even worse was how damaging to the intent of a Sabbath for the parents all that effort often was. One of the benefits of our current Advent-ures setup is the “parents night out” it provides.

Second, I know I’m taking a risk with this next insight but I’m interested how the women of our church are more consistent in their attendance on Sunday morning. The trend is not extreme but it is noticeable.

Third, I’ve noticed how every time I run by Ingle’s Sunday after church or in the afternoon I meet a parishioner who has to start the conversation apologizing or excusing their absence earlier that day. It is not hard for me to understand and I do everything I can to put them at ease. We are both in the store because it is when we have time to go. Plus, I’d rather have a good visit than instill guilt.

Fourth, it occurs to me that our Jewish kin have a better Sabbath practice, especially those who live close enough to their synagogues and temples to walk to worship along with those who dim the lights and turn off the TVs.

There are other reasons but these few make it pretty clear that there is a disconnect between what we do and what we say about what we do. Our Christian observance is meant to be a celebration and maybe that is the best reason there is little encouragement for the time we take to be “off” and thus the disconnect. Maybe we try too hard on Sunday morning for some people. They need the breathing space and not more to do or “get up for.”

Another way the disconnect shows up for me is in how hard it is to be quiet or sit in Sabbath-like silence during Rite I or Rite II eucharistic worship. I have no solution to this puzzle. I do know that Sabbaths are made not just taken and I do know that what we do on Sunday mornings is a break from the world’s lament, anxiety and busy-ness.

Celebration should be a refreshment. But I’m worried for those in our community and the society beyond who can’t connect with our current Sunday morning practices for whatever reason. Even more I’m worried that we are losing our sacred Sabbaths.

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