“And on the seventh day God rested from all his work which he had done.”
The summer is a Sabbath of sorts. We don’t do Sabbath the way it was done in earlier times. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Both, I guess. Sundays were sacred. There were no shopping malls and no Cumberland Farms convenience stores. Gas stations were closed.
“The Sabbath,” Dr. Beck said, “is simply a time to stop trying to alter the universe.”
Lory, Carlyn and I are going to start the summer by stopping the hectic pace. We’re getting on a plane bound for London. After four days we’ll take the chunnel to Paris, where we’ll stay for four more days, then we’ll take a train to Frankfurt where we’ll visit Lory’s uncle. It will be a two-week Sabbath. We’re billing it as a birthday extravaganza. Lory had a big birthday in April, and rather than trying to arrange an ambivalent party she opted for the clear choice: Europe.
Travel restores the spirit, but it’s demanding and it can be exhausting, so we’ll recuperate at home for a couple of weeks. There’s a stack of books with promises of sermon-stimulating stuff that have been waiting patiently. Then we’ll be off to Chautauqua for a week. I’ll conduct the Unitarian Fellowship Sunday service on July 25, and two days later I’ll offer up a lecture for the ethics series. My topic is, “Humor As a Moral Imperative.” We have a responsibility to nurture mind, body and spirit-we need to learn how to lighten up.
Carlyn will be spending the last two weeks of August at Kinhaven music camp in Vermont. She went there last summer and loved it. She’s becoming an accomplished cellist and the Kinhaven experience challenges her to further growth.
During one of Carlyn’s weeks at Kinhaven Lory and I will say hello to the little cabin at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. By then the pressure is on: sermons have to move from ideas in the mind to an outline on paper. I like to be able to start the new church year with a leg up.
Barbara, Ed and I share the responsibility to be on call during the summer Sabbath. Sue will be in the office every weekday; one of us will be accessible by phone in case of emergencies.
I hope you have some summer Sabbath plans, taking time to stop trying to alter the universe and simply be in it. At some special moment you’re sure to say with E. E. Cummings: ‘i thank You God for most this amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky, and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is Yes.’
This has been a good year for our gathered community at the Unitarian Church in Westport. It has been a difficult year to be a responsible citizen of this powerful and rich nation, and a caring citizen of our war-weary world. Our covenant reminds us: ‘to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.’