Summer & Sabbaths
by Brian Kaylor
We went camping over Memorial Day weekend. My three-year-old son loved every minute of it, even as it rained. That merely created lots of mud for him to play in. Soon, he camouflaged himself as a walking mud pile. Since then he's pretended to go camping a lot. He set up a campground in our backyard that involved moving some chairs into a circle and adding a bunch of his toys. He set up camp in the house a few times as well, which basically is him taking everything in a room and putting it together in one big pile. We don't let those campsites last too long! He's even convinced his grandparents to cook marshmallows again (over a grill).
For lots of people summer brings new activities (like camping) and even a new schedule. My son and I are experiencing a different pace with different things to fill our days than we did during the winter. This seasonal change models what we should try to accomplish throughout our lives: times of rest and renewal. That's the original idea of "Sabbath," although too often we act like it means be really, really busy with church activities. But the Sabbath was created for us as a time to rest and recharge. We can't keep up the pace that our greedy, consumeristic society expects. As the brilliant Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann explained, "The script of the dominant empire is 'make more bricks, make more bricks.' But you can never make enough bricks."
Brueggemann wrote a wonderful book last year called Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now. He places Sabbath at the center of the biblical narratives and the key to following God. It's a challenging and thought-provoking work. I called it the best book of 2014 and have personally recommended it to several people (ironically a couple of them said they didn't have time to read it right now). Summer seems like a good time to try and practice some Sabbath. You don't necessarily have to go camping. But I do highly recommend toasting some marshmallows!