A Delight-Filled Day…


This past Sunday, I spent the day with my son. I began school this past week and have been hard at work trying to get my life together, purchasing the tools I will need for the next three years of classes, ordering the books, trying to find a vehicle to save time cycling to and from work, and beginning my first tentative academic responses to the mission laid out for me by each class. I rented a car for the weekend in order to save time and aid in my search for a pick-up to buy. So, Sunday I decided to go downtown and hang out with Baird. Originally, I thought I would go to church where I usually do, and pick him up for a late lunch. Instead, I asked Baird if he wanted to go to Jacob’s Well in mid-town KC. JW is a cool church. I love the vibe of the music, which has an alternative feel. I also loved the speaking of JW’s founding pastor, Tim Keel. Tim has since followed God’s call on his heart to New Zealand… I kinda wish God would call ME to New Zealand… JW has been searching for a new “teaching” pastor for a year, and is in the final stages of deciding on which person to extend an invitation to. Before the divorce, we attended JW, and it holds a unique place in my heart.

So I called Baird and asked if he would like to go to church with me, eat lunch at Gates Barbeque… Best bbq in Kansas City and therefore the WORLD!…  and then hang out at Broadway Café in Westport. Baird loved the idea… especially Gates… and we decided that I would pick him up at 10:15, to make it to JW by the 11:00 service.

I was looking FORWARD to Sunday!

Before classes started, I began reading a book titled: “Sabbath” by Dan Allender. It is another book in The Ancient Practices Series published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I only read into the first chapter, and had to lay it aside once school started. However, the introduction and first chapter made a distinct impact on my understanding of Sabbath. The faith tradition in which I grew up aligned the concept of Sabbath with going to church on Sunday: Sunday School at 9:30, Church at 10:45, and then church AGAIN at 6pm that evening. They also defined Sabbath more by what you WEREN’T supposed to do, rather than what you WERE supposed to do. For instance: Don’t work, don’t eat out, don’t watch TV, blah, blah, blah… Therefore, I have always had a low level of guilt which accompanies each Sunday. Thankfully, I am breaking out of that dysfunction. Looking back at my past and most recent experiences in church, I find that there are two ends of an emotional spectrum to which the Church has difficulty expressing, or giving room for expression corporately: Joy/fun and Grief/sadness. The concept of Sabbath, as defined by Allender fits into the Joy end of the spectrum. Allender defines the experience of Sabbath as, “a day of delight that delivers us to joy.” In fact, the manner in which Allender describes Sabbath sounds more like a party than a somber day spent mining the depths of the ontology of God. Instead, it sounds like God walking through the expanse of his creation with a smile on his face as he encounters the beauty there, followed by a deeply significant word… “That’s just VERY COOL!”

 Another aspect of Sabbath which Allender suggests is experiencing “the holy”:

“The holy is not located in one designated and agreed-upon space, such as a church, a monastery, or a stunning vista that captures a breathtaking view of a mountain range. The holy comes in a moment when we are captured by beauty, and a dance of delight swirls us beyond the moment to taste the expanse of eternity in, around, and before us.

The holy usually comes in unexpected, utterly surprising moments where the gift of goodness opens our heart to wonder and gratitude. It may come as we are traversing a familiar ski run and the play of light and shadow creates a stage of grandeur; or in awakening in your new home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after six months of language study and realizing that for the first time you dreamed in the native language. These moments of delicious surprise are pregnant with delight.

Delight doesn’t require a journey thousands of miles away to taste the presence of God, but it does require a seperation from the mundane, an intentional choice to enter joy and follow God as he celebrates the glory of his creation and his faithfulness to keep his covenant to redeem the captives.” pg. 3-4

These thoughts were in the back of my mind as I gained speed on the entrance to I35 heading north into the heart of Kansas City. As I drove, I listened to a cd I had recorded with some of my favorite artists. I was listening to Santana when a guilt-producing thought came into my mind: “It’s Sunday, you really SHOULD be listening to Chriiiiiiiistian music!” Old habits rarely die easily, and guilt is firmly entrenched in the crevices of my brain. Suddenly, from the recesses of my mind, came a thought:

“You are driving with the windows down, the wind blowing through your hair, listening to music that you love…. Isn’t that delightful? Allow yourself to enjoy the blessings of the experience and this beautiful day. THAT IS SABBATH!”

I took this new thought to be the voice of God to me. And I think he said in a slightly quieter voice, as if under his breath: “…besides, I like Santana too!”

Although I could be mistaken on the last part…

I was then able to become fully present in the beautiful moments of that day:

The light coming through the old stained glass windows of Jacob’s Well…

The music…

Being in church with my son…

The children dancing in the aisles to the music…

The incomperable briscuit at Gates which is always served piled between two pieces of plain white bread…

The bread sticking to the roof of my mouth…

The Cafe Mocha with the beautiful foam artwork on the top from Broadway Cafe’…

The wonderful conversation with my son that always begins, meanders from subject to subject, and never seems to end until it must end, with each of us knowing we will pick it up again… later…

Joy!

Delight! 

Simple things which were certainly, “… a seperation from the mundane, an intentional choice to enter joy and follow God as he celebrates the glory of his creation and his faithfulness to keep his covenant to redeem the captives.”

Sabbath…

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