Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two Lifestyles

I like to keep a supply of meal-replacement bars in the pantry so I can grab one on the way out in the morning as my breakfast. As I sat in the drive-thru at the bank this morning waiting for the teller to process my transaction, I decided to read the promotional blurb on the wrapper of the bar. Here it is:

The alarm clock is our starter’s pistol. The new day our stadium. We have no time-outs and we don’t want any. Running, biking, lifting, working, dating, mom-ing, dad-ing, studying, shopping, blogging, 24 hours buzzer to buzzer. Which is why Promax packs its energy bars with 20g of replenishing protein, 18 vitamins & minerals, all natural ingredients and great tasting flavors. No artificial sweeteners, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, maltitol or gelatin. Gluten-free and vegetarian. Since 1996 Promax is the fuel for doing.

Pretty inspiring, huh? Here’s the line that caught my attention: “We have no time-outs and we don’t want any.”

Really? Uh, I’d sure like a few time-outs!

One foot away from the Promax bar on my car seat was a book on tape that I purchased recently to listen to (but have not yet begun). It is called “Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest and Delight” by Wayne Muller. Here is the promotional blurb on the back cover:

Thomas Merton, toward the end of his life, warned of a “pervasive form of contemporary violence” that is unique to our times: overwork and overactivity. In his work as a minister and caregiver, Wayne Muller has observed the effects of this violence on our communities, our families, and our people. On Sabbath, he responds to this escalating “war on our spirits,” and guides us to a sanctuary open to everyone.
Muller immerses us in the sacred tradition of the Shabbat – the day of rest – a tradition, Muller says, that is all but forgotten in an age where consumption, speed, and productivity have become the most valued human commodities. Inviting us to drink from this “fountain of rest and delight,” he offers practices and exercises that reflect the Sabbath as recognized in Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. Through this way of nourishment and repose, Muller teaches, we welcome insights and blessings that arise only with stillness and time.

One message is: “We have no time-outs and we don’t want any!” The other message is, in essence, “It is only through time-outs that you find the replenishing rest and peace that feed your soul and allow you to be fully human.”

I know which message our culture tells us to listen to. But I’m pretty sure the message Jesus points us to is the other one.

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his work as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10)