Six days of work are spent
To make a Sunday quiet
That Sabbath may return.
It comes in unconcern;
We cannot earn or buy it.
Suppose rest is not sent
Or comes and goes unknown,
The light, unseen, unshown.
Suppose the day begins
In wrath at circumstance,
Or anger at one’s friends
In vain self-innocence
False to the very light,
Breaking the sun in half,
Or anger at oneself
Whose controverting will
Would have the sun stand still.
The world is lost in loss
Of patience; the old curse
Returns, and is made worse
As newly justified.
In hopeless fret and fuss,
In rage at worldly plight
Creation is defied,
All order is unpropped,
All light and singing stopped
~Wendell Berry “Sabbath Poem V”
On the calendar, this past pandemic year contained just as many Sabbath days as any other year. Even so, we Christians allowed these fifty-plus precious days of rest to be broken by our own impatience and anger.
As a result of pandemic concerns and government regulations, many churches stopped meeting and even now continue to only worship virtually. Others blithely ignored the risks and continued to meet as they always had. Some tried to find an uneasy middle ground, meeting with restrictions on seating and indoor singing.
It felt like the Son Himself and His Light had been broken in half — the body of Christ divided.
The pandemic may be in its waning months but how will the church recover? Will friends find unity again after months of separation, disagreement and antipathy? Can healing reach into our pews and bond our prayers back together?
I have struggled to find rest on these Sabbath days, to look forward to meeting together with my brothers and sisters in the body. I am challenged by my tendency to fret and fuss. I need forgiveness for my attitude and I need to show forgiveness for those who see things differently.
The Lord knows what He is doing with His people, illuminating our divided hearts. Even in the darkest hour, He took on all our imperfections and failings and made them right.
May His broken Light be healed, our corrupted hearts be made whole and may our singing begin once again.
One thought on “Waiting in Wilderness: The Light Unseen”
Amen, Amen, to all that you have said here, dear Emily.
I think that one of the effects of the Pandemic isolation
and other strict observances could possibly be a blessing
in disguise in that they give us an opportunity to sift through the
meaning of our liturgies’ and community gatherings’ place in our lives.
and see His Light, His Purpose despite the current restrictions.
I mean: ‘getting down to the ‘nitty gritty,’ —
the most important reasons that we gather together (as He asked us to do)
as His Followers, His Disciples. When the nucleus of what we now
call ‘Christianity’ was first becoming part of the extended culture of the
time over two thousand years ago, there were many threats,
in-fighting, and negatives among the population. Not to mention the
real threat of the Roman occupiers and the ruling Jewish Sanhedrin.
BUT: because HIS LIGHT WAS there among the believers, they persevered.
And they responded to that LIGHT – and still do. It got them
through as they grew and spread THE WORD. That remains our responsibility
to this day. For me, it is the WHY and not the HOW we achieve this.
We are ‘covered.’ We have His Presence in His Light and the belief in His Presence.
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