I would call this post "The Joys of Sabbath" except for the debate surrounding whether Sunday is the "Sabbath" or whether any day is still binding as a day of rest. Whatever...
I went for a walk tonight, partly to clear my head, partly to run an errand. During the walk I was able to reflect on this past week and look forward to this coming one. These walks, rare as they may be, are an integral part of my pattern. Without them, come Monday I am a mess. I'm unfocussed, tired, and disheveled. They are, in a significant way, my recreation--which is significant since they happen on the only day in which Christians get together to worship.
As I was walking, I noticed that I had a joy that I hadn't had before (that's a lot of hads). The houses that I walked by belonged to people I knew, some that I love, and some that I tolerate to the best of my ability. Most of the households that I knew were Christian households. The streets were not empty either; many of those households were walking to an evening service that our church was facilitating. There was only one or two cars that I noticed in the entire trip. Like so many people, some of who I know, most of whom I don't or can't know, this place is home.
Wendell Berry, somewhere in his vast corpus, talks of how farmers on Sundays often walk their lands, not to work them, but to be with them and enjoy them. I have a postage stamp plot of land in my yard, but I often walk around my house to take stock: see what's leaking, what's in need of repair, and what is beautiful and blooming. My walk tonight was similar. I walked my neighborhood and took stock. I realized that my dreams of having a self-sufficient community(ies) here in Beaver Falls may not be the dreams of my neighbors. I know of at least one who's dreams are in big construction in a the big city. I know of others who would do anything to get out of here, for whatever reason. But I also know that many people came to my door this week looking for applications and there was a light in their eyes because they could walk to work. What an exhilirating experience. It opened my eyes to see that this area is in the grips of a faulty business mentality: go where the money is. Maybe some of my neighbors have dreams of elsewhere, where the grass is greener and so are the bills, but others of my neighbors, maybe not articulately, want this place to be their home. More humane, more hospitable, more inhabitable, more coherent and cohesive.
All of this is significant because of the day. Whether or not Sunday should be called "Sabbath" or not, it still is the day of the resurrection. At least part of the resurrection was to give us the ability and responsiblity, through the holy Spirit, to proclaim to our neighbors and neighborhoods that Jesus makes this place more humane, more hospitable, more inhabitable, more coherent and cohesive, more like the home it was always intended to be.