Sunday, 4 December 2016


Another of Barbara Brown Taylor’s ‘spiritual practices’ in An Altar in the World is what she describes as the ‘practice of saying no’, otherwise simply defined as ‘sabbath’.

There is much that points towards saying ‘yes’, and rightly so. We are called to do stuff and it is right to get on with that. However, sometimes we respond by simply piling up more and more tasks, and that is never a good idea. We need to discern what are the things to which we should say ‘no’.

Saying ‘yes’ can be very important. It certainly has its place. As Taylor states: "Saying yes is how you enter into relationship.  It is how you walk through the door into a new room.  It is how you create the future."

However, we also need to identify the ‘no’ times, the occasions to take time out, the opportunities that we need to create for rest. In the end things will be more rounded if we do that. As Taylor says: "Sabbath is not only God's gift to those who have voices to say how tired they are; Sabbath is also God's gift to the tired fields, the tired vines, the tired vineyard, the tired land.  ....   Sabbath is the great equaliser, the great reminder that we do not live on this earth but in it, and that everything we do under the warming tent of this planet's atmosphere affects all who are woven into this web with us.  Just because the land and the livestock cannot hire lawyers does not mean they have not been violated.  Their biblical rights are written down right there in the Bible, but other gods go on getting in the way."

Sabbath allows us to be fair to everyone, including ourselves.

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