… a bit too used to it actually. When a bit of Christian heritage gets held up positively in the media it can be a bit of a surprise.
So I was surprised last Sunday when reading through a glossy Sunday supplement and finding an article extolling the virtues of co-ordinated time off. The article then went on to link this idea back to the Jewish concept of Sabbath and suggest that time off was healthy not only for individuals but, when it was shared, for communities.
Ok, so it might seem to a tenuous link to the Christian faith, not quite revival in media land yet! Even so, Sabbath is one of our ideas! The more I’ve thought this, the more I’ve realised it goes on quite a lot. The fashion for the fast diet that was around last year could be seen as another example (threads covered that the week before last), the stories of non-religious Sunday Assemblies (apparently they don’t like being called atheist churches) could be another. People who don’t subscribe to the beliefs of Christianity picking up on some of the practices because – guess what – they work.
What are we to make of this? I can wring my hands over a consumer culture picking and choosing from traditions to create a kind of spirituality-lite or I can celebrate a point of connection, an opportunity.
While I still think my beliefs seem odd, and out of step with people around me I am beginning to notice that the practices those beliefs lead me to, the way of life I’ve built on my beliefs, is actually quite attractive. All this leads to a bit of a challenge. I am encouraged to let my beliefs actually convert into lifestyle and then to be ready to explain those practices by referring back to faith. Actually I think of the most important aspect of having faith. It resonates with Jesus words in Matthew 11:
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
This is about practicing a way, not just holding to certain doctrines. It’s about looking at what I do with money, relationships, time, etc… and seeking to let Jesus lead me into better ways of living. It’s also about putting into practice some of the things that run deep in the Christian tradition, such as prayer, fasting, time in community, prayer for people who need healing, generous response to those in need. I am increasingly confident that practicing living in such a way will be attractive to people at least as much as it is strange of unnerving.