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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Friday, April 24

Turn again to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has treated you well.
—Psalm 116:6

My nephew is Jewish, and from time to time we worship with him at his synagogue. Over the years, as Jack’s Episcopal priests-aunt-and-uncle, we have grown accustomed to greeting him on Friday evening with “Shabbat shalom.” Loosely translated, this Hebrew greeting means “Sabbath peace.”

Yet our rabbi friends have taught us that it means far more than ceasing from work. Shabbat shalom involves returning to the recreating grace of God, the grace that knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, the grace that sustains and upholds us.

Setting aside the frenetic pace of the workweek to observe Sabbath rest invites us to stop and be still, to relish the world we have been given, to notice the life unfolding all around us. When we turn again to our rest, we discover how much goes on without our efforts. The practice of returning to our rest allows us to rediscover that we are not God and that we did not create ourselves.

When he was little, Jack taught us a song from Hebrew school, which we sing together to this day. The words are simply, “Shabbat shalom, Shabbat shalom.”

Whenever I sing it, I see Jack as a child, dancing around the room, teaching his Episcopal relatives how to dance with Sabbath joy. I see Jack drawing us into the sacred human act of resting in God, resting in the joy that we have been brought into being, and trusting that at the end, we will return to the Shabbat shalom that is God’s true presence.

Grant me the grace to rest in you, O God, that I may be your creation and live your life in the world. Amen.