Dear Friends in Christ,
Well I hope you had a great summer. I have to say I enjoyed my staycation. I did manage to attend my first National Convention. It was in Indianapolis where I caught up with my “Monday friend”. Rev. Twyla and I met in Seminary and we have kept our friendship going ever since. She is the woman who has made many of my stoles. We call on Mondays to catch up on the week past. We often laugh when we ask the question: “if we didn’t talk on Monday would we know its Monday?” She traveled from Colorado to be at Convention. I hadn’t actually seen her face to face since her ordination in 2005. As we sat in the great hall for lunch we barely talked… we didn’t need to. Instead we just sat and looked at each other…so grateful to be in each other’s company.
I think what it must have been like for the first disciples of Christ…the men and women who sat at the teachers feet, listened and soaked up all that He said. They were in His presence and they were present. It seems to be something we miss in today’s fast paced – high tech world – the art of being present. We snap instant photos and download them on Facebook the moment ‘something’ or ‘nothing’ happens and live our lives out in the virtual world. We rarely just experience the moment and allow ourselves to just be.
I remember a couple at my very first parish who invited me to their house to just ‘be’. Not to do… but to be. It was great to sit on their deck and enjoy the beauty of the nature around us.
This summer I took the opportunity to just be. I had lots of company this summer but with each guest we took plenty of time to just be. Each got to experience something that I have come to learn about living here. Each took time to unwind and experience the prayer… “The shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed…” We took at least one day to be content to rise in the morning, and begin the day hearing the birds sing, seeing the mist rise up from the lake as sun breaks through. To be content not to have a plan for the day—for the day IS the plan. To watch the turtles as they frolic on the top of the water or sun themselves on a plank set there just for them. To float on rafts and let the turtles watch us as we them. To be the only one on the water on the kayaks and paddle in silence. To slow down if only for the day.
It was good spiritual time. It is a time that actually has a name:
What a thought! Holy Leisure. How often, especially at home I feel guilty of ‘committing leisure’. As if it were an act of laziness. But somehow this summer the leisure time seemed spiritual. Otium Sanctum Holy Leisure feeling as if this precious time were a divine appointment to relax in God’s presence with the beauty of His creation. Otium Sanctum—as if being given divine permission to be leisurely with His Blessing!
Richard Foster defines Otium Sanctum in this way: It refers to a sense of balance in life. An ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to be at peace with ourselves.
The real art of Holy Leisure comes not during the vacation time but during the vocation time. To be at peace through the activities of the day… at work and at home. It is something we practice.
And so as the summer days come to a close and the program year begins… I pray that we continue to find time to be present to one another and with our Lord. I pray that your days become infused with Holy Leisure; That you find spiritual balance of caring for mind, body, and soul. May Christ be at the center of your leisure and His peace flows through the busyness of your day. Be blessed with Otium Sanctum.
With my deepest gratitude for all that you do I am…
Yours in Christ,