"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Calm of a Saturday Night

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Psalms 37:7)
'"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10)

One thing that most single guys and I do not have in common is that I really enjoy having a quiet Saturday night at home. Not that I'm antisocial and I like to be with people and do things, but on Saturday nights, well, it's my time. Even though I know my lineage is Scottish/French and my faith of choice is Christianity, I find many good ideological and theological practices in Judaism. One of them is the firm commitment to observe Shabbat, the Sabbath, as a time strictly focused on study, worship of Jehovah and reflection. No shopping, no television, no work, no activities of a major secular nature. I think that my Saturday nights have become my Shabbat, even if it lasts for only a few hours.

The world today we all live in is a busy and hectic place. If we are married, there are schedules to keep of ourselves, our spouses, and our children. However, being single, those schedules are often more hectic because there is only one of you (especially if you are a single parent). You are the one responsible for groceries, laundry, yard work, housekeeping, etc. without the benefit of a spouse to assist. In the popular culture of today, I have decided that have far too many of the infamous "inner children" to contend with. It seems that one is always being left behind when the carpool leaves. One is still at soccer practice while I leave the wrong one at the mall and then try to remember where to pick them up.

As a musician at my church, Sundays are a work day for me. I'm there from 7:30 in the morning until after 12noon, playing for a worship service, teaching a Bible study class and playing for another service. Then a lunch break, having to be back by 4pm and leaving around 7pm. Usually, after that, a group of us go out to eat and kinda wind down with good friends. There is rarely time to experience God or to feel His presence on a regular basis because there are too many schedules and places to be all day to slow down.

That's why I protect my Saturday nights. It is my time for preparing physically and spiritually for Sunday. Making sure music is ready for the next day, finishing up the Bible study lesson for my class, focusing on what God needs for me to say and do trying to calm my spirit and soul to be receptive to His leading over it all. Plus, after a normal busy week, my body needs to physically rest to handle the pressures of the coming day and workweek.

In one of my favorite books from years past ("Mr. God, This is Anna"), the little girl Anna figures out that God didn't need to rest on the seventh day of creation. Why should He? He is God and does not get tired. Instead, on that seventh day, He created Rest for us. While not necessarily a theological or Biblical truth, I think it is a good concept. Humans need to rest in order to be ready to meet God. Humans need to rest in order to gain strength for the demands life puts on us during the week. I need to rest in order to hear God speak to me. On the weeks that I run at full tilt Monday through Saturday night late, I am in poor condition on Sunday mornings to experience God's gifts or His presence.

When is your day of rest? When is your time of Shabbat? When do you reserve time to calm your spirit, withdraw from the world outside and prepare to meet a personal God? I'm probably a failure at being a cool single guy in the world these days, but that is not my concern. My concern is being a success at being a single guy who 1) Loves God, 2) Lives a life pleasing to Him, and 3) shares this with those around him.

Goodnight Seth, wherever you are. I love ya like you were my own kid, but if you call me at 2am again to go to Taco Bell, I will be forced to pound you in the ground. Even if you are wasted, there are just some things I don't need to know (just kidding, you animal!)

Be God's,



At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know you wanted to go to taco bell jimmy

At 11:30 PM, Blogger JulieB said...

Now you're talking my language! My Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and ends with Havdalah at sundown on Saturday. Hmm, but what does that mean for me? It means I put aside for 24 hours the cares of the week. I go to synagogue Friday night, sometimes Saturday, sometimes both. I study the Torah, reading that week's passage, and also whatever else that interests me. I take time off for myself. I don't do chores, altho sometimes I go ride my horse. I can't believe that riding a fine animal around the pond and over the bridge, then up the hill to see the mares, is work. Quite the opposite, it reminds me how wonderful the world is.
We share something else - I sing in the choir so I am often singing on a Friday night.


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