Sabbath Frees Us from the Anxiety of Achievement

If we are to recover what it means to be a creature, to live a given life in a given world, then Sabbath will be a central practice. It is in Sabbath that we learn to rest and wrest ourselves from the anxieties of achievement, of making and doing, that clamor inside and out. “It invites us to rest,” writes Berry. “It asks us to notice that while we rest the world continues without our help. It invites us to find delight in the world’s beauty and abundance.” In our greed that rushes to consume the world to our own destruction, “it may be asking us also to consider that if we choose not to honor it and care well for it, the world will continue in our absence.”

–from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life

Honor the Sabbath

Like so much of Wendell Berry’s writing and ideas, it is easy to be captured by the vision but frustrated when we look at our own lives and imagine how we might practice it. How do we find the retreat into this Sabbath world where we can be reoriented while living in a place with busy streets and our only options for wilderness are parks that hardly embody the creation in its abundant autonomy?

The answer is that we must engage our imaginations and learn to translate these truths, as all truths must be translated, to our own places and contexts. Even city sidewalks host feral grasses that break through, a wild whisper that signals what will come when the city’s noise finally fades. Sabbath is a reality that can break through anywhere if we learn to have the eyes to see it.

–from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life

Meeting God in the Upper Room