Food for the Spirit
Our bodies have to have protein; there is no getting around it. In the same way our faith needs protein to continue to grow. Yet what is “Spiritual Protein”, it looks different for each of us, and as clergywomen, I believe it looks really different. I agreed back in May to write this article with the topic being “Spiritual Protein”, as I have pondered this topic I have come to see it more as the need for Spiritual Sabbath!
In my previous calls, I have always taken Friday as my Sabbath day. Friday was my day off from the church office and I even refuse to answer emails! My current call, as well as my last call has required me to be a Tentmaker. There is no Friday off from work, Tentmaking employment typically means Monday to Friday work schedules, where is my Sabbath time? In the past, Saturdays where laundry day, grocery day, yard work day, now I have to carve out Sabbath time and do those activities that have to be done.
Recently, my family made the decision to live together – that is, 3 generations living together under the same roof. With pets! Now, there is hardly a quiet moment in the house to carve out Sabbath space, much less time. I love being with my grandchildren, but they are learning some boundaries, and I in turn am learning how to set firm boundaries to allow for my Spiritual Sabbath.
What does Spiritual Sabbath look like for me? Time outside digging in the dirt is Sabbath time. My Momma was into gardening, and I am thankful for her passing on her love to me. With my family in a new house, there is plenty to do in regards to the yard, and my grandchildren come out to ask questions. So I am sharing the knowledge my Momma passed to me with them, and their Mom. My son, well he trusts Momma to handle the yard, he just wants to ride his tractor! Even though I cherish my private Spiritual Sabbath, sharing with the dirt with the grandchildren warms my soul.
The other aspect of Spiritual Sabbath for me is doing my son’s laundry. You see, he is a Staff Sergeant in The Old Guard assigned to Arlington National Cemetery, not one of the Tomb Guards but one of those who accompany each fallen Hero to their final resting place within those hallow grounds. His uniform must be perfect.
So each Saturday, early in the morning before the house comes alive, I laundry his dress shirts and his gloves. As I scrub the collars of those white shirts, I pray over the fallen Heroes, that he honored in that shirt. Sometimes that means 4 funerals in a day.
As I am throwing the 6 pairs of white gloves into the washer, I pray over the loved ones whose hands these gloves touched as he placed the folded flag into their hands.
As I hang those freshly launder shirts to dry I pray over my son, thanking God that he has been able to fulfill his dream of serving in The Old Guard. This time, this activity grounds me as I fulfill my call, as he fulfill his call.
Spiritual Sabbath looks different for each of us, but it is so important. In order to care for our families as well as our flocks we have to eat some Spiritual protein. We have to turn off the phone and sit down with a novel. We have to walk away from the computer and take a walk in the woods. It is vital to our ministries that we feed our souls.
I encourage you all to share on our Facebook page ways you feed your soul, because we all are always looking for new recipes!
JoAnne Sharp is NAPC Membership Chair and Administrator. JoAnne is also heavily involved with planning out 2018 Conference at Montreat – an offering of Spiritual Protein!