Offering Sabbath

On a local Facebook group focused on being inclusive, a person asked a question about how everyone is taking care of themselves, mentally. It is a question for our time – how to recover and refuel so that you are able to continue fighting for justice and building Beloved Community.

I was cheered to see that a member of Live Oak posted that she does this by going “to my church and be with other people who get it. Others who are mad. Others who are hurt. Others who are scared. And that is sustaining.” (Thanks, Amy Dark!)

I think of our church often as a “refueling” station. Every week, no matter how low the resources for your spirit have dropped, you can come here for replenishment. You can walk into Live Oak and exhale. Be around people who are cheering you on, who love you; you can hear ideas that exercise your own thoughts. And you can rest, the kind of rest that helps you to recover from the previous week, and be strengthened for the week ahead. The music, the readings, the discussions – it’s all geared around giving you a real Sabbath.

At “The Point” (a UU summer retreat), Rev. Aaron White shared the poem “First Lesson,” by Philip Booth:

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

I think of the people in the wider community that surround the church – people in NW Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock – people who are struggling to refuel and recover. I hope they can find us. Am I’m looking for more ways to let them know – we’re here. Their village is right here, doors open, ready to welcome them home, and offer them Sabbath.