February 29th, Leap Day. A unique day with deep Celtic traditions which I will not explore in depth, but please see here for more information. A catch-up day, adding more time to better equalize the calendar year with the actual rotation of the earth around the sun. And even more unique today is Leap Day landing on a Saturday! The next time this occurs is the year 2400!!! So an outstanding, special, distinctive day chock-full of time-honored (pun intended!) traditions which will recur only 380 years from now! How to celebrate this amazing day, one asks? By getting ready and doing….absolutely nothing! Zip, zero, nada. No big productions. No productive work. No “earning the day” today. Instead, I plan to relax, recline, renew, and re-boot. And submit (another) losing vote to LentMadness.org for Eustace evidently!
Why this shocking lack of industry today? Because today is also Shabbot, the Jewish day of rest. The Hebrew root, sbt, actually means to stop. Quit. Cease. Our Jewish forebears discerned a deep wisdom about God’s nature being both active and reflective, and embedded this significant and counter-cultural insight into their foundational texts to align themselves with God’s own habit of activity followed by rest. To be faithful we must labor and then rest. All of creation itself moves between these paradigmatic poles, and health is defined as inhabiting the harmonious balance between these poles. And I am the absolute worst at resting. Terrible! Somehow I am infected with the corrupted notion that I am valued by how much I produce or how busy I can move. As if God Himself will love me based upon my production! Yes, yes, Paul said “Let them who not work, not eat! But not working hard enough in my experience isn’t our largest spiritual challenge. Jesus chided Martha that all her activity, at least in that moment of an intimate home visit with our Lord, wasn’t nearly as wise as Mary’s decision to simply sitting and listening to Jesus. How Martha I truly am! So as uncomfortable as I am with not moving fast, today is a loungy Leap Day! And as I lounge, I ask:
- Have we actually ceased money-producing, family-supporting, personal excellence achieving activity in recent memory for 24 hours without interruption?
- Who might we be if we actually did attempt to enact Shabbot as a Lenten discipline?
- Do we have the courage to explore this strange, new world and spend time with God?
Warmly in the Lord,