Building towards Sabbath part one: The Phone

Cellphone battery

Greetings friends,


This week has been a week of discovery, and it's all leading somewhere pretty special. But I think you should see it develop the way that I did, and so we're going to go through a bit of a series for the next few days. Fun for all I tell ya!


Yesterday was our Veritas kickoff. 3 months of waiting, dreaming, planning, vision casting, praying, and excitement were about to give way to our 6th year of ministry at Westminster. A massive collection of people were involved in making it come together, including student leaders, parent volunteers, and staff people. 


Yesterday also happened to be another day in my all-day long intensive class about church planting. As I mentioned in the last series, I want to do my best job possible to be present during the class, and so I've gotten in the habit of turning my phone off at the beginning of class, and not turning it back on again until I get into the car to drive home. I have also completely geeked out and set the following sound as my phone's text tone: 



I think that's enough background for what's coming next. 


I got into the car, turned on the phone and started to take off for Westminster. As soon as the phone turned on, the texts started rolling in:


"What time do we start tonight?"



"Is so and so going to be here?"



"It's the kickoff, are we going to have the same leadership needs as a normal night?"


"I'm in college, and I'm still getting the text alerts. Can you take me off the list?"


"How much does the corn hole tournament cost?"


These are just the ones I read in the parking space, as texting while driving is dangerous and in no way recommended by the J-Blog. From there I began my hour long trek to Westminster. And every few minutes or so, I'd get another text, and I'd hear the same mario brothers noise. Using my bluetooth headset, I had Siri read the texts to me, all basic questions about what was going on in ministry that night. I may have imagined it, but I think even Siri was a little bit out of breath reading my messages to me as I drove. 


I actually started getting angry. Don't get me wrong, if you're one of the people that texted me I wasn't angry at any one person or at any one person's question, but just at the sheer volume of texts I was getting. At first I was angry at the idea that so many people would wait until the last second to ask questions. Then that they had questions at all. Then that gave way to realizing that had I done a better job of communicating what was going on that night I probably wouldn't be getting so many texts. Then I got angry at myself. And then I realized it was just the beginning of the year!


After careful reflection later that night, I realized that the anger wasn't about anything it seemed like it was about. And actually it wasn't anger at all. It was anxiety pretending to be anger. It was the build up of a long period of not resting, of not getting by myself, of not allowing myself to recharge. As I sat on the couch last night and reflected on things, I realized that I was out of the habit of keeping Sabbath. 


It's a spiritual discipline that comes and goes for me. When it's an active part of my faith journey, I find that I am much more capable of handling stressful and busy moments. When it's not there, I all too quickly become completely unspooled. It needs to be there, and last night came the realization that it hadn't been there for a long time. Something needed to change.


But then the questions start to arise. What is Sabbath? Is it simply a day off? Is it where no work is done at all? If so, then what is work? And how would you prepare for a Sabbath so that you could resist the temptation to work on the Sabbath? What if no one else takes a Sabbath? What would you say to them? How would you get them to respect the space you need? And what would your relationship with God do on a Sabbath? How would you reconnect the broken places in your faith journey? 


All these questions (and so much more) come in part two!