Prayer for November 2022 from our National Spiritual Advisor (The Rev. Jane Lamont)
Reflection from our Diocesan Spiritual Advisor (The Rev. Lee Weissel), October 2022
DSD reflection for October 2022
“Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
This story written in the book of Exodus, could easily have been about us today. Written many thousands of years before Adam Smith’s writings of the power of the market base economy, the same ideas are still present. The market economy is as much about production as it is about consumption, and to that end it is directed at our needs and desires, endlessly calling us to be satiated by the next best thing, but leaving us feeling inadequate, unfilled and rest-less.
The multitasking of the 24/7 cycle requires us to be in constant movement mode, under a task master of our own making. It is just as Israel remembers under the insatiable Pharoah, whose desire to build and build meant there was no rest for anyone.
In the narrative, Israel is finally set free and delivered from the Pharoah and his systems, and taken into the wilderness, where for the first time their needs are taken care of, but in a way that they cannot store up bread. Each day they are called again to trust God with their provision. This ongoing provision is a sign of God’s care and concern for their need.
The restfulness of God counters the restlessness of Pharoah. We need to remember that habits can take a while to break. So in the story as the Israelites are called to observe the Sabbath, we see some again restless and out in the wilderness. Author and Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann calls the invitation by God into God’s rest as a Sabbath of resistance to the culture of the now.
Brueggemann reminds us that the Sabbath is not simply about keeping rules, but rather about becoming a whole person and restoring society. This Sabbath rest is ultimately found in Jesus. His life, death and resurrection challenge and change the narrative of the world. It is the better story, the one for us to be right with God, with each other and the world. But you and I know that for us who have so much of the Pharaoh restlessness in us, we too are works in progress in this space.
It is also one of the reasons we enter into our Cursillo weekend in silence relying on the sound of a bell to tell us the time. Many of us may remember the struggle this part of the weekend was. Rather than make us restful, for some of us it made us more restless as we tried to take over our own Pharoahness rather than embracing the rest that God offers.
How are you travelling in this space? Do you feel more of Pharoah’s call, or God’s? And how do we show the better story?
As MW35 approaches, look around at our brothers and sisters. Who is still feeling under the lash of production and consumption? Give them the gift of inviting them to a Cursillo weekend, and let the Spirit work in them.