Last Sunday I woke up feeling overwhelmed and weary. I was carrying the past week as well as the coming weeks on my back. I was grateful for the Saturday that I had because not much was scheduled. However my grandmother is not doing well, so a chunk of the day was spent going down to the nursing home to visit her. It was a good visit and I’m thankful for the opportunity, but less than thrilled with the situation. It was hard to not make it just “one more thing” to put on and check off of the list. Even as I type those statements, I feel guilt and disgust with myself, and the tears are welling up in my eyes. I spent the rest of the day cleaning and doing neglected chores that I knew would be neglected again for at least another two to three weeks.
Sunday morning came and I was tired. I’ve been struggling with the fact that church often feels like work (when you work in ministry it’s extra complicated) and thought about all that I had to do that morning/afternoon. I received a last minute text the day before asking if I could run the camera for the worship service. Since I was going to be there, I agreed. Then I knew that after church we had another leadership meeting, which would put me leaving the church at 2:30 at the earliest. I had forgotten to type up a few things for the leadership meeting, so I hastily did that that morning. Once I walk through the doors of the church, I’m tasked with making sure that the church is warm and inviting (at least my little corner of it). Smile at people. Ask them how their week went. How’s the family? Did your job get any better this week? Etc. Scan the room. Are there any new faces? Anyone sitting alone? Make sure no one sits alone. Look over the discussion questions. Thank goodness I don’t have to teach this morning.
It can be a lot. However, it’s not bad. That’s the thing. I love my church. I love greeting visitors. I love catching up with people and genuinely hearing about their weeks. I love leading discussion groups. I love operating video cameras. I love teaching. Not a huge fan of meetings, but they’re a necessary evil. I try to run them as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’m a huge proponent of “everybody needs to pull their weight and the church doesn’t exist to serve you, but you exist to serve the church” mentality. Usually when I walk through the church building doors, I’m hit with a new energy and don’t feel that exhausted while I’m there. It’s only when I get home and the high of it all wears off that I feel how tired I am. I enjoy Sundays, but rarely do they leave me feeling refreshed and ready for the week.
The question that’s been running through my head for quite some time is, “How do I make the Sabbath a Sabbath?” Just like sexual purity isn’t just about avoiding sex, taking a Sabbath isn’t just about not going into work that day, which is about as much as I’ve ever heard churches get into the subject. I’m pretty sure that God’s Day of Rest isn’t just about spending a day binge watching shows on Netflix either (which I tend to do when I want to “rest.”) I’ve done a little bit of reading into the history of the Sabbath and have found a few modern day articles about it, but am still having a difficult time applying it to life. Our church culture doesn’t promote this tradition and our secular culture definitely doesn’t support it. I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a person truly observe the Sabbath the way God intended.
As I ran the camera last Sunday and got bits and pieces of what the pastor was saying, he talked about sin and the value of confessing it. He talked about our “biggest sins” and while I don’t know if I can accurately rank my sin, my thoughts and feelings from earlier that morning came back to me and I thought, “This is one of my big sins. I’ve been missing this commandment the whole time.” I haven’t been sneaking around in the dark with it. I haven’t even been aware of it most of the time. But it’s been out here in plain daylight for all to see, and I’m not even sure if anyone has noticed. If they have, they haven’t told me.
This is the confession. Where I go from here, I don’t know, besides prayer. There’s always prayer. If you, dear friends, have any practical suggestions (not theological book suggestions because that’s the easy part … READ THIS BOOK. IT WILL ALL BE OK. except not.) or thoughts, please post in the comments below. Hopefully we can all share in this journey.
Disclaimer: I don’t really have to contact all of these people.