Lent blog: Day 22 – NO NEED TO HURRY. NO NEED TO SPARKLE. NO NEED TO BE ANYBODY BUT ONESELF

Published Sat, 13/03/2021 by

If you try observing the Sabbath as a day of rest, you’ll start to notice things that usually elude your attention.  You may find a Jaffa cake, for example, tastes unusually good.  Your salad is a riot of colour. How come you’ve never seen this before?  Why?  Because you’ve slowed down.  You’re in the moment.  Not rushing ahead in your mind to think of the next thing.  You’ve time to be.  To be yourself.  

I came across this quotation recently: “There’s no need to hurry.  No need to sparkle.  No need to be anybody but oneself” (Virginia Woolf).  It’s a very Sabbatarian sentiment.  

Alongside this greater sense of ease, you’ll also find you’re freer to appreciate things just as they are.  You’ve begun to break, if only a bit, that ingrained habit of always looking for change, for improvement, for constant novelty.  The world of nature for example is not there to be tamed, conquered and exploited.  It’s there to be cherished and nurtured for its own sake.  In the oldest Biblical creation story, we read that Adam was placed in a garden God had planted in the east, “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:8 & 15).  The idea of ‘subduing’ and ‘dominion’ (Genesis 1.28) is a later text, from a later time seared by suffering.  The earlier insight is better.

It’s all very counter-cultural of course.  But everything spiritual is.  There are some things – newer habits, better ways – we have to cultivate if we’re going to have something worthwhile to offer.  Life is not meant to be just a mad canter to the grave.  And remember this: Jesus – who taught us by his way of life and even by his silences – was an observant Jew.  He always kept the Sabbath (Luke 3.16).

MICHAEL KIRKHAM