Relational Sabbath

Henry has changed my perspective regarding Sabbath and especially regarding work. With Henry in the picture, everything else just seems a little less important. Making the right grades, meeting people’s expectations, impressing the right people.... spending time with Henry has taken priority over it all. This relationship has taken precedence over all of it. Spending time with my family has become the real point of everything else. And that’s where J├╝rgen Moltmann comes in... Moltmann has written,
Work is... meaningful not because it alone provides the meaning of life, but precisely because it is limited by the goal of rest and joy in existence. The Sabbath does not simply interrupt work. Rather, work is understood and defined through the Sabbath. ("The right to Meaningful Work" in On Human Dignity, p.41) 
And he’s written that the real heart of Sabbath is relationships. For in Sabbath, God “adopts the community of creation as [God’s] own milieu,” (God in Creation, 279) and in so doing, God “comes to [Godself]” (280)—this on account of the primacy of relationships; “as primal as the things themselves”(11). On the Sabbath God rests, celebrates, and rejoices in God’s creation (see 6). This relationship—the relationship and not some corresponding impulse thereof—“completes” creation. Relationship is work’s goal (not the other way around), and work itself is conditioned by its goal. The work, for its own sake and perpetuation, fades into the background by virtue of Sabbath rest.

...So back to Henry...

Before, my work was its own goal. And while I know that the novelty will wear off (terrible as that sounds) and there will be times when work becomes its own goal again, I have found another point of all this. In all my work, in meeting expectations, I anticipate this relationship. I look forward to seeing him, holding him, sharing his space. And in my rest, when I cease from my work, I get to celebrate and rejoice in relationship.

It’s not that I’ve achieved something. Of course I’ll still find ways to forget what I’ve learned, especially throughout the week. But if nothing else, I have gained a different perspective... God’s work wasn’t about work it’s about relationships... In the same way that I sometimes find myself distracted in my work because I’m anxious to go be with Henry, I can imagine God distracted in God’s work of creation, anxious for Sabbath, where God can “experience” God’s creation.


Amanda Ellis said…
We love you so much! What a wonderful father you are. And I can't imagine doing this life without you. :)