There are moments, even whole chapters of my life that I have lived in two different time modes. One mode is fast processor that plows from project to project and goal to goal. My other mode is slow accessor that catches what I miss in my fast mode.
I used to assume that I could live in both modes at the same time. Kind of like catching your breath for a few precious seconds before you run the next leg. I’ve since found that I cannot live in both modes simultaneously.
Anyway, this last week I slipped from fast processor to slow accessor, after nine weeks of transition from my home to a new state with a new church (well, new to me).
I joined some close friends and some new friends to have some open conversations with some fascinating Christian leaders, thinkers and authors. Len Sweet, Dick Staub and Bishop Anderson joined us, one each night. We dialogued about life, marriage, ministry in the second half of life, arts, theology, and culture. The conversation was funny, sad, intellectually stimulating and honest.
These conversations took place on Orcas Island, a beautiful place, shrouded in misty blue hues. I suspect the beauty of that place helped me time shift. Beauty, art, film and music have always helped me slip from fast processor to slow accessor. And in my slow mode the conversations because less about ideas and more about relationships, community and friends.
And what I experienced was a safe place to be myself without agenda. Just a bunch of guys with wives they love and children they are raising and releasing who happened to say yes to God’s call to follow Jesus by serving the church. We laughed, cried, prayed, joked, and toasted the God who’s shalom we seek. It was good.
It occurs to me that this time shift is called “Sabbath” in the bible, which means stop. It’s only commandment God gives on behalf of ourselves (the other commandments are on behalf of God and others). “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath,” said Jesus in Mark 2:27.
I try to practice Sabbath each Friday, by doing something with my wife that we both enjoy, like hiking hills, walking meadows, driving beside vineyards in the amazing beauty of Sonoma County. Being with my wife, my family, and my friends in beautiful places help me time shift into Sabbath, which, as God said, is a gift.
Sabbath is a gift for me because it shifts me into an awareness that I am more than I produce. And it helps me attend to the signs of the God who is always there, but who I miss more than I see because of my own blinders and pace.
We all have blinders. Thank God for the ways God restores us. For more on how God restores us, I invite you to dial in Sunday, when I’ll talk about the restoring life of God seen in Jesus. Until then, may God be with you and may you be with God.