The Sabbath Sweet Spot

In the Northern hemisphere our summer is drawing to a close.

In the Northern hemisphere our summer is drawing to a close. We move into an autumn ruled by the pitch and yaw of the ship of state. All hands will be needed on deck to navigate the American experiment through the dangers that threaten it. But for a moment, we rest in that sweet spot between the summer solstice and the fall equinox.

Have you had moments of solitude this summer? Were there short periods when time stood still—when time flowed like a mountain rather than a stream? Was there a human face framed in golden light?

In Flannery O’Connor’s story The Violent Bear It Away, a character says, "Love cuts us like a cold wind, and the will of God is plain as winter. Where is the summer will of God? Where are the green seasons of God’s will? Where is the spring and summer of God’s will?" The solitude and sabbath that summer sometimes affords allows for a "green season" in our souls.

So much of the year is spent at top speed, with barely a human moment. At those points when we turn inward, too often it is for soul churning, self-judgment, desperation, or exhaustion. We bundle ourselves against the cold wind of God. When we stop to unwrap our outer garments "love cuts us." But in the summer of God’s will, we can rest, relax, be at ease. We can even be playful. Don’t "whistle while you work"; just whistle because it makes you happy.

IN AN INTERVIEW, pollster-to-the-political-stars Frank Luntz said that the most important issue for working women in a recent election season was time. Time for themselves. Time to do their jobs well. Time for their families and friends. Luntz sells his extensive research to politicians who want to tailor their message to the swing votes. But time has always been a religious issue.

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Sojourners Magazine September 2004
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