Today’s guest post comes from Clyde.
So Dale is on sabbatical, bless him.
Sabbatical is an Old Testament word and concept. In Leviticus God orders that every seventh year the land is to be given a solemn rest. I doubt that happened very often. Giving up a year of food does not seem possible. In Deuteronomy God says every sabbatical year, seventh year, you are to forgive all debts and make special efforts help the poor. I doubt that happened. So, you see, a sabbatical is supposed to last a year, but, please, no one tell Dale.
The day of rest, the Sabbath, is based on the same word. A couple guest blogs back I mentioned Minnesota’s attempt to pass blue laws, which perhaps would have made Sunday more of a day of rest. I hate it as a law, but I appreciate the concept of Sunday as a sabbatical.
When a pastor takes a sabbatical, she/he is sent off with a blessing ceremony. Our lead pastor is on a three-month sabbatical. During his ceremony his stole (the long cloth that drapes around the neck and down the front) was hung over the pulpit, which seems vaguely funereal, or as if the stole is pointing a finger at him saying “get right back here and do sermons for us to ignore.”
Sabbatical seems a wise concept, for both the land and the people. It implies a rebirth, new growth, re-creation. Our modern use of the word recreation is such a small application of the word. Recreation is important, of course, but is is far from re-creation.
The concept exists in many cultures, such as the Aborigines’ walk-about, which, too, is a small word for a large concept. The Navajos and other American Native peoples have ceremonies designed to re-create a person.
Often I have tried to re-create myself and failed. I always end up the same person I disliked before, which is home turf for us Lutherans.
I am a little afraid of a re-created Dale. What will the nicest guy we know become?
How would you re-create yourself?