(In The Life Of The Church)
I leave for vacation tomorrow. More than a few people have asked me if I'm excited. "Yes, yes I am!" Note my use of the exclamation point. It's appropriate here. That seemingly natural question has sent me reflecting on my excitement. This may sound like I'm being a brown noser, but that's not my intent. When I started this job, I was elated. It never felt like I came to work. I still feel that way. This really is one of the best jobs out there. For that reason, for the first few years I had my job, I honestly did not care about vacation. If i was at work reading and studying what I wanted or at home doing the same thing, it was all winning. Honeymoon periods come to an end. Now in year eight, despite my passion for this job, I love my vacations.
I looked in the personnel file and aside from a few days I've taken off here or there, mostly to care for sick children, I haven't been on vacation since last summer when I returned from sabbatical. I can feel it. I'm a little worn.
After an overnight stint at Lindsay's sister's house we will drive the three and half hours to my parents house which is fixed in my hometown, Tomahawk, WI (AKA the Shire). My parents have three acres on a Wendell Berry lake (Mabel Lake). There I will watch my kids paddle around in the canoe I used growing up. I will watch them chase frisbees and balls with their cousins on the ground I used to play home run derby with my friends growing up. I will watch them dip their feet in the same wash-up-tub that I used to clean yard debris from my feet.
Sometime during the middle of the week, we'll use one the rainy days to drive to town to the theatre that features the one movie that made it that far North. On the way there, we'll stop at the one stop light that came to the town in the late nineties. There will be two or three buildings that will either be new or renovated. Those changes will represent the death and life of a few businesses. Because the town is about 3,000 people, I'll likely know the families of the failed businesses. That will be cause for disappointment and start a thirty minute discussion that happens any time you talked about the tangled lives of Tomahawk.
And all the while, when I spend a week filling my life with the seemingly mundane, something will happen to me. My soul will be mended by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
UBC has embedded her identity with the theological concept that the sacred and secular are poor categories to describe a world created and pronounced good by God. Sometimes selling people on the sacred nature of everything can be difficult. That is the not the case with vacation. It's not hard to convince people that vacation is good for them, even that it is spiritually good for them. Perhaps that's because vacation, which so often leads to rest, has a theological bedfellow in Sabbath.
Vacation is not a theological term and taking one does not guarantee a spiritual experience. But, slowing down and setting aside a time in our lives that reminds us our primary purpose is not work, is in fact a deeply theological concept.
There is no way I can tell you exactly when someone jotted down the oral tradition of the creation story, but it's likely that it was given a louder voice while Israel found herself in the oppressive circumstances of exile. Genesis 1,2 & 3 were probably written down when the reigning foreign ideology (of either Egypt or Babylon) taught that people were dispensable machines used for making things. It's in light of those circumstances that the fact that God took a day off is so astounding. It also make sense of why this seemingly odd command landed itself in Moses' top 10 list. Taking a rest after a hard week of work is an idea that's found in the fabric of the way things are supposed to be.
I read a book on Sabbath by a Jewish Rabbi named Abraham Joshua Heschel. In it Heschel argues something unique, namely, that Sabbath is not a day off for God. That even on this day God is creating. What?
What is Menuha?
"Menuha which we usually render "rest" means much more than withdrawal from labor and exertion, more than freedom from toil, strain, or activity of any kind. Menuha is not a negative concept but something real and intrinsically positive. This must have been the view of the ancient rabbis if they believed that it took a special act of creation to bring it into being, that the universe would be incomplete without it. 'What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose.'"
Here's to tranquility, serenity, peace, repose and the conviction that humans are most fully themselves when they find rest in the God of Sabbath.
Meet Our Newest Leadership Team Member
Vocation or what you are currently doing with your life: Student at Baylor University.
Favorite Holiday: #DIA
Best restaurant in Waco: Raising Canes. Once the name has been spoken I can't rest until I've eaten it. That sauce...my goodness.
Bible verse/chapter/book that has been formative for you: Ephesians 4:1, so much so that it is tattooed on my shoulder. Also, Psalm 40 and 2 Corinthians 12:9.
TV show or movie that you love: I will address these separately. I have a deep affection for Gilmore Girls as a series, matched only by my feelings for The West Wing. Regarding movies, Tommy Boy is the best of all time.
Something we might not know about you: I have never been apart of an a cappella group.
Mi Casa Information
Fall is coming at us FAST - that means that it's time to start getting things rolling for Mi Casa!
In related news, I am hoping to start a few more groups. SO, if you think you might like to lead/co-lead a Mi Casa this coming year - or if you don't necessarily want to lead but you would like to host - I would love to connect in the next few weeks to talk about what all that entails and get to know you! If this paragraph describes you (or you think it might) then email me at email@example.com
If you have always wanted to be in a Mi Casa - or you're wondering when groups officially start meeting again - then mark your calendar for August 30th. We will have a sign up that day in the foyer and groups will start meeting that week!
In Family News
Lest someone think think this is self promotion I would like to make it clear that one Jameson McGregor did not ask me, nor does he know now that in this moment I'm writing this. That being said, I'm proud of his gifts. Should you be interested, he occasionally works on a demo, which you can find here.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Kelsey & the Denmans
Coffee Makers: Haylee Loudenslager
Mug Cleaners: Tim & Adrienne Lee
Waco dives: We will meet at Taqueria El Crucero, on Tuesday @ noon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
July Grillz and Chillz will take place at the Monroe house on Wednesday July 22nd. More information to come.
Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:
254 498 2261
If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
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UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
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