This Sunday, I’ll be preaching from the book of Proverbs, a passage so comforting it’s worth a spoiler:
“You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.
No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner,
Because God will be right there with you; She’ll keep you safe and sound.”
Some of us only get our afternoon naps with a side of worry, and a good night’s sleep is a distant dream. It does feel as if we are living through doomsday times, with newly invented outrages every week to resist. How dare God invite us to fall asleep on the job!
I love this passage because it reminds us that God is God, and that salvation doesn’t depend solely upon our own efforts. In other words, don’t just do something — sit there. Rest. Meditate. Take your right-sized place in the great and global unfolding of Whatever is coming next, and trust that God is more present than you imagine. Sabbath is a commandment.
At the same time, in order to relax, many of us feel that we have to first do something — as Dr. King said, “to act as if the answer to our prayers depends upon us, and not on You oh Lord.” So on Sunday, June 2, we will do just that: we are resurrecting a jubilant experiment from early 2016 and observing Service as Worship Sunday! After a brief 20-minute worship service in the Sanctuary, we will spread out all over our campus in service to our church and to justice agencies we support. We will carry gift bags of small necessities to unhoused neighbors at People’s Park. We will repaint the lobby of a nearby shelter agency, and pull weeds for Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay. With these little labors of love, we will animate the Body of Christ in service to the vulnerable in meaningful and measurable ways.
We are human and finite; we are holy and whole, “a little lower than the angels.” We are children of God who are called, and creatures who need rest. Summer is coming (whatever Game of Thrones may say). It’s been a busy year, a year marked by loss and transition, a year of gaining focus and moving closer to rebuilding, not just Pilgrim Hall, but also the Kin-dom on the corner of Dana and Durant. May we trust both that we can “do,” and that we can rest from these labors, by turns.