Sabbath

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“I’ve been rethinking the whole Sabbath thing,” God says, as we share a green smoothie and watch a spectacular sunrise. “I don’t think people get it anymore, and I’m afraid it’s been pigeonholed as something exclusively Jewish or contorted by the evangelicals. They’re masters of contortion.”

“Ah, um, well,” I say, caught a bit off-guard. “What is it we’re supposed to get?”

“You tell me,” God says in her slyest voice.

My defenses flare. Flecks of spinach float in the blueberry kefir. There was a time when I had a grasp on Sabbath—the crossing over from chaos to rest. From flailing to faith. It wasn’t Jewish. It wasn’t Christian or Muslim. It was kairos—the fullness of the moment—an eternity in which nothing and everything mattered, including me. It was a fleeting glimpse of nirvana, a deep plunge into enlightened trustingness. It was a backfloat on the salty sea of oneness—effortless disconnection from the workaday days and dream-addled nights. But the ways of the world drained the sea. I often found myself floating on mud, so I crawled away from Sabbath, and now I shop, grateful the stores are open.

I look deeper—I can’t help myself. I remember the way in—through a door where guards strip-searched souls for fear, shame, and crippling uncertainties. Then, the chilling nakedness was quickly covered by 5-star hotel bathrobes of pure compassion, tenderly wrapped around the body; furry slippers placed on weary feet. Someone pays the bill in advance, but you have to share the room with yourself. I’m not an ideal roommate.

Resting in God is a place to live. Entering the Sabbath is what children do when they build a treehouse high in the clouds. It is soft and safe up there. There’s hope and magic. Crackers and apples and cheese. Communion. I had a treehouse like that. I built it mostly by myself, but my dad had to shore things up here and there. The memories make me dreadfully homesick.

“Okay, you’ve made your point,” I say, dragging my restless self into the present. “Let’s drop it, okay?”

God tips her head back, shaking the last slow drops down the inside of the gleaming glass. They spill into her open, happy mouth. “Good smoothie,” she says. “That really hit the spot.”

 

Why You Should Avoid Small Talk with God

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“Hey big fella,” I said, making small talk with my co-author–the entity commonly referred to as God in many parts of the world. “What’s your favorite name for yourself?” At that moment, one of God’s legs was flung across the valley, the other tucked up like a mountain under his stubbly chin. Wild, unruly hair scrambled the stratosphere, sapphire eyes too big for the sky bore into my own.

“Hey yourself, tiny creature,” God said, smiling wide enough to swallow the whole solar system. “You know I’m unnameable, but today, you can call me Dirt.” God paused. “No, wait. Make that Topsoil.”

“Aw, c’mon God,” I protested, but I decided to go with it. “I mean Topsoil. I was hoping you’d say Love. Or Alpha Omega. Or Immanuel. Or People First. Three-In-One, or even Savior.”

“Yeah, I know,” Topsoil said. “I notice you didn’t say Allah. Or Gaia. Or Father.”

I snorted. Topsoil grinned. “I don’t mind being called most things, as long as it isn’t  a trap or an excuse to do harm. I hate exclusivity, and I’m weary of the limits of human imagination.”

“Who’s fault is that?” I asked. “You’re the patent-holder. You could tinker a bit and maybe increase some capacities or something.”

“Oh, I’m tinkering,” Topsoil said. “But remember tiny creature, I invented consciousness and choice. These things take time.”

I knew this was true (as pretty much anything Topsoil says is true), but I felt sad. I don’t have much time left, and I’m worried that even the youngest of my fellow tiny creatures may not have much time left either. We continue to choose disposables and nonrenewable sources of comfort, not realizing that in the great circle of life, we are making ourselves disposable. And I don’t think we represent anything all that renewable.

“Mostly correct, but wrong on one key point,” Topsoil said, invading my head as usual. “You are renewable. It’s always an option.”

“I sincerely doubt that,” I said.

“Oh ye of little faith,” Topsoil said with a laugh. “You wouldn’t believe the miracles I’ve seen.”

“You’re right,” I said. “I wouldn’t. You know that old saying ‘seeing is believing’? Well…”

“Ah, tiny creature,” God said, transforming  from Topsoil into midnight. “Call me Darkest Hour and open your eyes.”

“I can’t open them any further,” I admitted. “I’m too afraid.”

“True that,” Darkest Hour said, rolling the earth into a tight ball. “Your honesty becomes you. I’m going to take a little nap now. Spring is exhausting. So much going on. You can call me Rest if you’d like. ”

“Wait!” I shouted. “No. I’m not calling you that. No. Please. Come back here. Tell me what you want me to do.”

The God of Rest, of Sabbath, of Consciousness and Choice, the God of Letting Go yawned as big as a thousand cyclones and stretched, knocking a few planets out of orbit. “You’ll figure it out, tiny creature,” The Entity said. “I believe in you. And I’m 100% renewable.”

“Nooooo,” I wailed. But God was snoring too loud to even notice.