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It has been a busy new year already, hasn’t it? It seems we have more to do than we have the hours or energy to get done, and we are always finding more things that need our attention. We’ve also experienced unusual weather that has complicated our ability to get our and accomplish our “To Do” lists.

At the same time, the political and social unrest in our country weighs heavy on our hearts, and we want desperately to act with justice and mercy as scripture requires, but we aren’t sure how to respond. All of this together makes souls weary and begs the question, “How are we caring for ourselves in the midst of chaos?”

This means it is a good time to remind ourselves about “Sabbath.” Remember, that after God did all the creative work of designing and forming the universe, the oceans and continents, the animals and plant life, and human beings, God then spent a whole day at rest—a day of renewal and reflection on how God had spent the first six days of the week.

I know it’s not always easy to carve away time for renewal. Still, as Christians, it is vital that we make time for Sabbath, both fun activities that take us away from the ordinary, & quiet, reflecting activities that help us contemplate the extraordinary. Both ways of “Sabbathing” help us care for our bodies, our relationships, & care for our spirits. For some fun and easy examples, check out the list on p. 2 of this newsletter.

Especially in light of what is happening in our world, Sabbath is essential. We must fill our own spiritual tanks so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ in our community and able to act in ways that bring others mercy, justice, peace, and hope. If our own spirits are worn out, how can we reach out to others with the light and hope of Christ?

Sabbathing is also important for your pastor! Recognizing that keeping our own spiritual tanks full is vital to being a healthy, effective pastor, our conference provides pastors with a month of renewal time off each year.

Taking time away is often difficult for clergy because of the on-call nature of our jobs, and because we love what we do and the people we serve! Still, I know that if I am not faithful in obeying God’s command to “Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy” (Deut.) then I will lose focus on God’s mission for our church, my family and myself.

As your Pastor, I “practice what I preach”  & take renewal seriously. Friday is my Sabbath each week where I take time to recharge and refuel, making special effort to connect with our Creator in study & prayer. Saturdays are set aside for family activities, chores and errands. But I also plan extended time away every few months, both to rest and to spend quality time with my family. Because of my busy job and our busy lives, vacations become sacred time where we can reconnect with each other and build those memories that last a lifetime.

Thus, I extend my thanks to you for holding me accountable in honoring the Sabbath, and for allowing me that time out of the pulpit so that I can refuel, worship, study, and enjoy my family. It is never easy for me to miss office hours or church, but I know that it is for the good of us all—my family, our church congregation, and myself— when I take good care of myself.

In return, I promise to be that gentle voice reminding you to carve those moments out of your day where you can connect with God, both in private and corporate ways, and to spend time with the people you love as often as you can. Life is at once too short and too complicated to miss out on that!

Love, Pastor Becca