November 29, 2016
There is a lot we can learn from our sisters and brothers of different faith traditions. I live in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood, in south Seattle. It’s the same neighborhood I grew up in. Although it was not always so orthodox, it has always been very Jewish, with three synagogues in the neighborhood. Friday night through Saturday night is Shabbos, or Sabbath. Observant Jews only walk to temple and to each other’s homes as they completely unplug from work, exchanging money, driving and touching/working anything powered. My Jewish friends love this observance; it is a wonderful time for family and community, precious time to worship, read, socialize, eat and rest. Sounds lovely, right?
I’ve always envied this practice, and wondered if and how I could apply this weekly discipline to my life. In our 24/7 world, where kids’ and professional sports games happen Saturdays and Sundays and we are constantly driven to do more, we are plugged in nearly all our waking hours. We don’t have the excuse or practice as a faith community to turn everything off. Now, more than ever, we need time to unplug, rest, slow down and be in community. How can we make this a priority? How can we support each other in this faith practice? We need time to fill up our tanks, recuperate and rejuvenate. How can we serve the world if our tanks are empty? That can lead to resentment and burn-out; we can’t afford to go down that path. Truly observing Sabbath is a spiritual practice, something we need to own and feel okay about. Self-care is our duty and calling to uphold, for ourselves and one other.
Start small; take an afternoon or a day. Make time into a sacred practice that is life giving and spirit filled. I’m ready to make room for Sabbath. I hope you are too. – June Hayakawa-Fung, Plymouth Faith Community Nurse