Let God Hold You

Last night, I curled in bed with the book I am currently reading - An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor, a former parish priest, who currently teaches spirituality.

This book is delicious in every way - not one to be raced through - but one to be savored, and so I "tasted" the chapter "The Practice of Saying No." It begins by explaining the historical, cultural, and religious differences between keeping the Sabbath and the Christian practice of observing Sunday - and then explores the value of having one day a week where we say no to doing, and simply enjoy being.

Taylor begins the chapter with this quote from Meister Eckhart:

"God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting."

A couple of pages into the chapter, she quotes the Swiss theologian Karl Barth:

"A being is free only when it can determine and limit its activity."

Later, she refers to Abraham Heschel:

"The first holy thing in all creation was not a people or place but a day. God made everything in creation and called it good, but when God rested on the seventh day, God called it holy."

Still, this is not an easy thing for most of us. Here are some wonderful insights in the author's own words...

"Sabbath is the great equalizer, 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...

In the eyes of the world, there is no payoff for sitting on the porch...In the eyes of the true God, the porch is imperative...

According to the rabbis, those who observe the Sabbath observe all the other commandments. Practicing it over and over again they become accomplished at saying no, which is how they gradually become able to resist the cultures killing rhythms of drivenness and depletion...

If a whole day of life-giving freedom is too much for you to imagine, then start however you can. Decide that you will get up an hour before everyone else in the house and dedicate that time to doing nothing but being in the divine presence...

At least one day in every seven...stay home not because you are sick but because you are well. Talk someone you love into being well with you...Even if you spent one day being good for nothing you would still be precious in God's sight - and when you get anxious because you are convinced that this is not so, remember that your own conviction is not required. This is a commandment...

...there is no saying yes to God without saying no to God's rivals...

When you live in God, your day begins when you open your eyes...and take your first breath...your day begins when you let God hold you because you do not have the slightest idea how to hold yourself...When you live in God, your day begins when you lose yourself long enough for God to find you, and when God finds you, to lose yourself again in praise."

This month, let God hold you. Say no to anything that interferes with his embrace and keeping one day holy. Find the time to be alone with the Alone, and become so drunk with the wine of sweet Love Divine, that nothing else matters!

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