Sunday, October 30, 2011

To Mark Sacred Times

--
The seasons are changing, as much as they ever do in this part of Northern California. The changes are subtle here, slow, surreptitious, easy to miss if you're not paying attention. The light changes color before the leaves do; it slopes in at a different angle and whispers of changes to come. The overnight lows are lower, as are the daytime highs, climbing 'only' to the mid seventies, and the Californians hunch their shoulders and hug themselves for warmth. They start looking for their sweaters and dig out their supply of words like COLD and FREEZING! I chuckle at their hyperbole and tell them I'm just finally getting comfortable--I will allow the occasional use of COOL, perhaps even CHILLY if I'm feeling especially generous, but COLD?  Um, NO! I do not miss the high, flat, smoggy, metallic skies of our hot Contra Costa summers, and I always thrill to see the splashes of color the trees don in autumnal celebration of cooler weather.

The natural changes around me have been going by outside my car windows in a dizzying blur as I am caught in my own season of rapid changes and busy days. I keep feeling guilty for having so little of Sabbath rest in my weeks, but I know no help for it at the moment. Show me Lord! This is not the busyness of over-commitment, not the overfull schedule of one unwilling or incapable of saying 'no.' It is just WHAT IS right now. Each of our family of four is in a particularly busy season, and the combined force of our four overlapping and scattered schedules can be just a little crazy-making. I am not fluent in busy, and rush is not my native tongue--I'm not a city girl, remember?


"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.' And it was so . . . And God saw that it was good." [Emphasis mine] Genesis 1:14-15, 18b NIV

It almost startles me to notice that God made time before The Fall. He made the sun, not for the sun's sake or His own, but for ours. He made the lights in the sky to light our way, to be a chart to help us know where we are and a clock to tell us WHEN we are. Too often time wields the whip of the cruel slave driver and we think it MUST be part of the curse, but no, it was part of Creation, part of the gift, and approved as GOOD by God. The marking of time was a good thing at the beginning. Can it be again? Can I remember time as gift and glory even when, in it's fallen state, it can drive me to distraction?

I make a conscious effort to slow my breathing to counter the effects of my wheels churning out RPM's beneath me. I wonder at the sun lighting up our sky as we whirl through space around it. Wheels turning circles, earth spinning circles, a whole planet revolving circles around the circle of a glowing orb made expressly to serve, made "to mark sacred times."

SACRED TIMES . . .

Do I count my times as sacred? Do I handle my times like I know each hour, each day, each season is sacred and rarest gift? Or God forbid, do I wish some of them away looking forward to a different season, an easier season, a calmer season, a more plentiful season? What a foolish wish, when this season, this season of busy, this season of holding on for the rushing ride, is no less sacred than would be the idyllic seasons I'm dreaming about.

I thought I was going to write about how the sun and the seasons it marks off can remind me that "this too shall pass," and that would help me to manage the stress of a time too wild with busyness. Instead, the Logos breathes different words into me as His words change my view altogether. Yes, "this too shall pass," but "this" is sacred time right now and I must cherish it right now. "This too shall pass," and when it does won't I be glad I stopped to notice what was dazzling about it while it was here?!!

A breath of Sabbath comes in the reckoning-as-sacred something I almost wished away in my longing for rest. In the golden resplendence of a Sunday sunrise, the Son-made sunlight finds its way past the morning and into my longing heart, chasing away my forgetfulness and discontent.


"Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom."


I have heard the word busy on so many lips of late--are you feeling it too? I pray that Sabbath rest steals in to your heart this week in ways that surprise and refresh you. I pray too that you won't wish away even your craziest times and will be able to see them as sacred gifts from your Heavenly Father.
________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

#851-865 
851. Needing, and getting, a new Bible cover because the old one was worn out with use
852. Managing to finish The Tehran Initiative AND post my review on time for Tyndale's Blog Tour for it!
853. Sunrise colors
854. Opening prayer at the PBR World Finals that boldly names the name of Jesus on national TV in the heart of Las Vegas, and a whole stadium that says a loud, "Amen!"  Amen indeed!!
855. The arrival of my signed copy of Rumors of Water by L.L. Barkat!  (Thank you to her and Laura Boggess for making this giveaway possible--so delighted that I won!!  If the first few chapters are any indication, I have only just begun to know what a win it was!!)
856. Words that come without a struggle . . . AND words that fight me every step of the way.
857. A little stolen window of time to spend with Hero Husband--I'm crazy about that guy!!
858. Drummer Boy's new job, even if it did cost me a morning of sleeping in =)
859. Nooks and crannies on English muffins
860. The smell of breakfast cooking when I'm too tired to feel awake
861. Pickles on hamburgers
862. The "good proud" way I felt when She So Sweet handled a disappointment with grace and turned it into energy to accomplish so much in such a short time!!  You go girl!!
863. Visionaries
864. Stories that make a sermon stick with me
865. A call to live with eyes wide open!

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