“The Spirit of God fills the world.” (Wisdom 1:7)
The Spirit of God that dwells in all things lies dormant in the seeds I plant in the garden. Before I plant them, they are dry and inert; seemingly lifeless. Once they physically connect with soil, sun, and water, they spring to life and grow. I follow a similar pattern. When I mentally and physically disengage from God’s creation, I cease growing and only exist like a dry seed; I become inert. Only when I am connected with real life (earth, sun, air, water, and a community of loving relationships – the world not made by hands) can I begin growing and living.
The Spirit of God dwells in me and in all things, but only springs to life under the right conditions. What am I doing to plant myself in the right conditions for life to go forward?
The Sabbath day is a time and a place beyond time and place, and we enter into it like a cathedral in time once a week. Looking back over the years, I can’t imagine that our family would have ever survived happy and whole without this. It is that important. For the Biblical-minded, it is one of the ten commandments. There is a good reason for that. It is also the most forgotten of the ten. This forgetting has had devasting results for us all. There’s a good reason for that, too.
Today, I purify my mind of the false claims of church and state, to love without reserve and to stop pretending life has any other purpose. Without this weekly reminder, it is likely that insanity would eventually seem reasonable and normal to some degree; necessary, even. (If the world ever comes to an end at our hands, it will probably be deemed necessary and good in the court of world opinion, and carried out by people certified as moral and sane.)
It is very easy to get lost in the mad rush toward nowhere. As Thomas Merton wisely observed: “Modern life is geared for a flight from God into the wilderness of neurosis. You just cannot immerse yourself in the world and be carried away by it; this is no salvation.”
Today, I will once again stop and take stock of my situation and ask myself the old familiar and uncomfortable question: What the hell am I doing?
Thank God for the Sabbath.
I don’t see much sense now in what I was doing in the world of commerce yesterday. It seemed to be of great importance then. Today, all I know is the prairie before me with tall grass and wildflowers waving in the breeze, the sun on my face, the clouds that drift across a cobalt blue sky, and a garden that is always waiting for another round of care. Across the pond, and reflected on it, I see the house where my loved ones are doing household chores and happily discussing plans for summer vacation. What was I concerned about yesterday? I have already forgotten.
At 5 a.m. the birds are a chorus. The day begins in a riotous explosion of song. What an amazing sound! It is impossible for me to ignore this. I used to ignore it or sleep through it. Not now. Attending the sunrise, my heart rejoices with the birds. Our frantic world of human endeavor too often ignores the festival of sunrise, too intent on ambitions and imaginings that distort what is real and what matters. Today, I am present and I see, and I am glad. They are singing my soul’s song.
Here you are again…in the afternoon light that flickers in the shadows of gently swaying trees; in the silence and stillness of the kitchen where a tea kettle rests artfully on the old stove; in the joyful songs of the birds as they celebrate the waning of the day; in the red and purple clouds of sunset; in my evening ministrations as I prepare to take my rest; in the moonlight streaming across my face as I lie awake and listen to the gentle sounds of the night…you are with me always.
Public discourse has become a cacophony of discord and disarray; a tower of Babel. Everyone has an agenda, everyone has special rights, everyone is offended, and everyone thinks it is freedom. Some want a structureless anarchy, some want a soft utopia, while others want an order of brutality and sameness. It is a world of armchair philosophers. I can only assume this reflects the inner lives of people.
Distraught people will ask, “How did it get this way?” Perhaps it is reasonable to consider that we have no official social and educational formation in the ability to reason. Instead, we are largely influenced by television, marketing, and social media. That is the defacto education for many. Consequently, we have a severely limited awareness of what we are doing, so we react to feelings instead of truth and we turn and rend one another.
I can’t help suspecting this is of benefit to certain interests and is encouraged and orchestrated to some degree. Divided people fight one another, instead of uniting for the common good, and unhappy people buy more stuff. The zeitgeist of the moment is not immune to manipulation, and in some respects is the result of it.