I am closing in on 20,000 steps today. That might tell you a little what I haven’t been doing. Sitting in meetings. The last time I was at Genreal Conference they worked us every day from 8am to 10 pm or later with no days off for 10 long days. This is the church who teaches the concept of sabbath. Even God who created the heavens and the earth rested on the seventh day to ponder on what had been accomplished the previous six days. Sabbath is a foundational practice for Christians to remind us that we are not in charge of the world but there is a God and we need to remember this God’s place and role in our lives and world.
The excuse for the church to keep the schedule it has for General Conference is that we have brought people together from around the world at great expense and we have so much to do, we cannot afford to take a day off just to rest.
After the last General Conference when they gave us no Sabbath, people complained, And so this year, the practice of sabbath was reinstated. So this morning instead of arising at 6 in order to be in my committee room by 7:45, I was out running at 8:15. I walked to church, worshipped, enjoyed a leisurely brunch with friends. Meandered through an art fair, rode a street trolley and strolled through a historic part of Tampa. It was a wonderful day to renew my spirit and enjoy the company of colleagues in a non-work environment.
The work to be done this next week is hard and complex. But I think we come at it renewed and refreshed for having had the sabbath time. And my experience has been the work takes as long as the time you give it. It is amazing what you can get done when we are focused and engaged, and that only happens when we have had time to disengage and recharge. And ultimately, the work we are doing here is all about what God is up to in the world and Sabbath helps us to remember this is not all our work. God might have something to say with what happens to and with the United Methodist Church. Maybe, just maybe, we can pay better attention to that Spirit having spent this day not in meetings!