Tag Archives: Wayne Muller

Thank You

This fall our congregation’s theme will be: Generous Living: Responding to God’s Abundance.  One generous response to God’s abundance is to develop a heart of gratefulness.  I am grateful for the wonderful people of Resurrection and the opportunity they give me to be on vacation.   I am also thankful that Sarah Storvick, my capable colleague in ministry, will provide some guest post on this blog next week (if technical challenges allow)> 

A part of my relaxation is rereading Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath,

Meister Eckhart, the Christian mystic, asserted that if the only prayer we ever prayed our whole life was “Thank you,” that would be enough.  Gratefulness cultivates a visceral experience of having enough.  When we are mindful of what we have, and give thanks for the many gifts we have overlooked or forgotten, our sense of wealth cannot help but expand, and we soon achieve a sense of sufficiency we so desire.  Practice thanksgiving before meals, upon rising, when going to sleep.  Friends, family, food, color, fragrance, the earth, life itself — these are all gifts, perfectly gratuitous.  How can we not give thanks?  During Sabbath time we are less concerned with what is missing, focusing instead on sharing our gratefulness for what has already been given (p. 128).

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

Here is a spiritual exercise worth doing every month.  Take a blank piece of paper and make a list of 100 people/things/experiences for which you are thankful.

Thank You, Lord.

From Absurd to Obedient

Peace like a River in Colorado

I am on vacation this week, seeking rest and renewal.  I prepared this post before I left, but it contains my hope for this time away.

Wayne Muller, in his book Sabbath, writes about Henri Nouwen.

Henri Nouwn was a dear friend of mine, a brother, priest, mentor.   He was also a fiercely astute observer of our worried, overfilled lives.  Henri insisted that the noise of our lives made us deaf, unable to hear when we are called, or from which direction.  Henri said our lives have become absurd — because in the word absurd we find the Latin word surdus, which means deaf.  In our spiritual lives we need to listen to God who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear in our hurried deafness.

On the other hand, Henri was fond of reminding me that the word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means “to listen.” Henri believed that a spiritual life was a pilgrimage from absurdity to obedience — from deafness to listening.  If we surrender fully into Sabbath time, we can slowly move from a life so filled with noisy worries that we are deaf to the gifts and blessings of our life, to a life in which we can listen to God, Jesus, all the Buddhas and saints and sages and messengers who seek to guide and teach us.

The world seduces us with an artificial urgency that requires us to respond without listening to what is most deeply true.  In Sabbath time, we cultivate a sense of eternity where we truly rest, and feel how all things can wait, and turn them gently in the hand until we feel their shape, and know the truth of them.

The theology of progress forces us to act before we are ready. We speak before we know what to say. We respond before we feel the truth of what we know.  In the process, we inadvertently create suffering, heaping imprecision upon inaccuracy, until we are all buried und a mountain of misperception.  But Sabbath says, Be still. Stop.  There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished.  Take time to rest, and eat, and drink, and be refreshed.  And in the gentle rhythm of that refreshment, listen to the sound the heart makes as it speaks the quiet truth of what is needed. (p.85)

Lord Jesus, teach me to listen.

Seeking Joyful Rest

Leslee Donovan Painting

As I leave on vacation, I am reflecting on this painting by Leslie Donovan, a talented member of Resurrection.  The simple joy of children being together is what I think vacation and Sabbath are all about.  The children are smiling as they prepare to share a meal together.  The painting invites me to share in that joy and to be present in the moment.  I am encouraged to be at peace in the simple pleasures of life.

God gave us the Sabbath for our benefit.  It is  a means to restore and revive us in our relationships with God, others and creation.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, but rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it (Exodus 20:8,11)

Wayne Muller has written an excellent book called Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives.  In a chapter called “A New Beginning” he writes,

The ancient rabbis teach that on the seventh day, God created menuha — tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose — rest, in the deepest possible sense of fertile, healing, stillness. Until the Sabbath, creation was unfinished.  Only after the birth of menuha, only with tranquility and rest, was the circle of creation made full and complete. (p. 37)

This week I am seeking the menuha, the peace of God.

How do find rest?

Lord Jesus, grant me rest in you.