My profession as pastor of a progressive church is demanding. My vitality depends on daily, weekly, and yearly Sabbath time. My daily Sabbath is to use half of my lunch hour for centering prayer. My weekly Sabbath is setting aside a half day a week for prayer, reflection, reading, and writing. And my yearly Sabbath is a six to ten day Centering Prayer retreat. We all need daily, weekly, and yearly Sabbath time to recharge.
What Sabbath time teaches is we’re more important than what we do. We’re primarily human beings, not human doings. Are we a prayerful presence when things get stressful or are we bouncing off the walls like those around us? Are we a calming presence or an anxious one? We gravitate toward people who keep a sense of internal poise, who stay calm in the midst of life’s storms. Centered people of faith inspire—people who are stable and anchored. Many minds are swept to sea when life gets unmanageable. We need rooted, grounded presence.
Christians don’t make disciples by evangelism and charity alone. They make disciples by the quality of their being—by the quality of their presence. “Are we centered?” “Are we calm?” “Are we stable?” “Are we always running around (often with little awareness) or do we have a sense of Sabbath?” I don’ think any of us can maintain a sense of Sabbath all the time. Yet the more we marinate in pregnant silences, the more thoroughly the flavor of that silence will permeate.
Silent prayer is the best way that I know of to experience profound healing rest, which eventually releases deep tensions stored in the body’s nervous system and muscles. This healing rest is always available and calling us home to our original nature.