Monday, July 10, 2006
Rest and Relaxation
What did I do last week? Where in the world was I? Holly and I had the most incredible week - pure rest and relaxation. Last Monday we drove down to San Antonio, and spent the night in the Palacia del Rio. Then we spent three days in New Braunfels. What did we do? Nothing! It was wonderful. I slept more last week than I have in the past month. We slept late, we took afternoon naps, we ate wonderful food, we drove around aimlessly, we kept the cell phones turned off, we hung around historic Gruene, we went antique shopping (that was Holly's idea), and . . . we went tubing down the Comal River (aka "toobing"). Just look at that picture. Wanna go?
When I preached my series on the 10 Commandments last month I really wrestled with the Sabbath commandment. Jesus was always in trouble for violating the Sabbath traditions of the Jews, and today any mention that we observe the Sabbath gets those Christians who think the OT doesn't apply to us all riled up. I think both extremes miss the point. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Sabbath keeping is not about legalism or what you do on Saturday - it's about rest. Doing nothing. Chilling out. It's God's will.
Here's a wonderful observation I'm borrowing from Wade Hodges' blog: "Dualism brought in its wake an emphasis upon asceticism. This life-style, a stark departure from the Jewish norm in Scripture, is still present in varying forms in the Church today. Asceticism results in a debasement of life. The enjoyment of the physical is rejected in favor of the general mortification of the flesh. Physical appetites and pleasures are considered unworthy indulgences which foster entrapment, so the body must be policed by rules. Thus one must seek to restrict or restrain oneself from, to deny or give up, anything enjoyable which may prove a hindrance to the cultivation of one’s “spiritual” life. . . .Though rejected by Paul, the ascetic attitude of “Do no taste! Do not touch!” (Col. 2:21) remains deeply embedded in the history of Christian thought. At the time of the reformation, the Dutch scholar Erasmus noted that Christianity in his day had come to be defined not in loving one’s neighbor but in abstaining from cheese and butter for Lent. . . The overall thrust of Scripture , however, reflects a different emphasis. Though physical pleasure is not the highest good or the solitary goal of life, one should receive and affirm in with an attitude of grateful acceptance. . . .If we find enjoyment in the here and now we should not be surprised. We know this enjoyment comes from the hands of living Creator who brought us into being with our best interests at heart. Hence, the Jerusalem Talmud states that in the life to come a person must give an account of every good thing he might have enjoyed in this life but did not. In the rabbis view, not to enjoy every legitimate pleasure was in essence to be an ingrate before the Master of the Universe. The next time someone tries to make you feel guilty because you’re enjoying life too much just tell them that you’re getting ready for the Day of Judgement."