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by Lynn Anderson


    They smiled in full color spread invitingly across two pages. Sophisticated people in high dollar clothing, draped over sleek salon-tanned-health-club bodies, lounging on imported furniture in front of a marble mantel. Her hand holds a glass of collector wine, his pats a quaffed and manicured dog. The stress of the office is far away. They are just hanging out. A picture of luxurious leisure. And — across the bottom, cleverly crafted words imply that if we just buy this or that, we will fit in the picture too!

    But Wayne Muller invites us to look behind the picture. The subliminal voice behind this and all consumer ads says, “Until and unless you buy what we are selling, you will never be happy! ... You are not enough. You do not have enough. You have not yet achieved the American Dream. ... You are not happy!

    The pictures lie, of course. Most of us will never have all that stuff. And even if we do, “it comes into our cluttered houses, into our modest, hurried lives. We are too tired to wear it, drink it, and enjoy it. Now we have to work even harder to pay for something we did not need in the first place.” We have gained nothing but another bill to pay. So our anxiety level goes up, and our “happiness quotient” goes further down.

The pictures lie, of course.
    Muller comments further, that we must “recognize our model of civilization is actually designed to produce suffering. If we simply work harder and longer and more efficiently to make it work better — without stopping to see what we have built — we will simply produce suffering more efficiently.”

    Sabbath however, “is a time to stop, to refrain from being seduced by our desires.” Time to stop working. Stop spending. Look around. Listen to life. Be. Just hang out. Actually it’s time to do what they do in the picture — without paying for it! Just stop. That is, after all, what is in the picture: people who have stopped. You cannot buy stopped. You simply have to stop.

    Sometimes God shows up in these still places when we...
    ...nap part of the day
    ...eat leftovers
    ...play a game with the kids
    ...walk
    ...make love
    ...read a good book
    ...pray
The dissatisfaction melts away, and God comes near.

    The designer of human-well-being did not intend these words as filler, to merely separate the covers of the Bible:
    ...“be still and know that I am God.”
    ...“remember the Sabbath...”
    ...“those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

Oh Adonai. This fresh morning, please still my heart so that I might know yours.
      Title: ""
      Author: Lynn Anderson
      Publication Date: June 20, 2001


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Sabbath: Remembering the Sacred Rhythm of Rest and Delight Sabbath: Remembering the Sacred Rhythm of Rest and Delight
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