Lent blog: Day 27 – UNBENDING THE BOW

Published Fri, 19/03/2021 by

This is being written in haste, or it will not get written at all.  One consequence of my decision during Lent to keep a meaningful Sabbath, from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is that I have come to realise how busy I am.  (I know, hard to believe, isn’t it?  Everyone knows clergy only work one day a week …)

Many people have a large part of their work which is not particularly urgent.  This doesn’t always make for efficient working.  I don’t know who said, “I love deadlines: I like the whooshing sound they make when they fly past,” but it made me smile.   

When one has a real deadline to work towards however – like the beginning of the Sabbath – it concentrates the mind.  As a consequence, I find I am working with an increased focus, prioritising more effectively and making (I hope) better decisions.  For a day or two after a real day off I also find I have more energy.  I feel there are too many clergy who neglect having a day off or allow it to be easily trespassed upon.  I agree with the observation someone else posed: “The thing about clergy who never have a day off is, do they ever really have a day on?”

Ceasing work is not, for Christians, an absolute.  For us the absolutes are the worship of God and the law of charity.  These must always come first.  But true emergencies are relatively few and far between.  For the most part work can temporarily be suspended from time to time.  All of us need at times to unbend the bow.

None of this is unique to the clergy, of course.  How do you do exercise a proper stewardship of your time for the sake of your mental and spiritual health?

MICHAEL KIRKHAM