I watched the film ‘The Social Network’ last night, a film which tells the story of the early years of Facebook, how and why it came about and how as things developed it affected the relationship of the two guys who began it. Its a brilliant film and I’d recommend it to all of you.
However, I came away from the film so fired up. I guess the sheer creativity and genius behind the idea of Facebook and how it almost started from nothing to a site with over 500 million members kind of blew me away.
I realised then something that I’d been feeling for a while. This was feeding my soul. This was like a Sabbath.
Watching other’s people’s creativity - both the film itself and the story told in the film - stirred my own creative juices and got me thinking in new directions, I felt alive coming out of that film.
I realised this is something that happens whenever I go see a show, go to a gallery, watch a good, innovative or thought-provoking film, or see anything which we traditionally call ‘creative’ which is fresh, inspiring and is of good quality.
This is what feeds my soul.
Doing this is clearly part of what Sabbath needs to be for me.
But it also told me something about myself. Now I consider myself to be pretty intelligent, I enjoy academic books and blogs and understand them very well, I’ve always been an academic kind of guy.
However, I’ve always been more interested in the creative side of it. Rather than being interested in examining and discussing topics and using all the technical terms and language - all of which I understand - I’m more interested in exploring those concepts and then communicating them creatively, whether its through writing or some other means.
There are people who are ‘professional academics’, people who do Phd’s, who do doctorates, loads and loads of research and produce academic papers.
But that’s not me.
Now of course I do a lot of study, a lot of research and a lot of reading. I want to learn more and get a good grounding in my faith, and there’s always new things I want to learn. I might even do some kind of theology diploma training one day.
However, my way of expressing that knowledge is not in academic circles, in academic ways.
I want to communicate that knowledge in fresh, innovative and creative ways which people who aren’t academics can engage with, understand and connect with.
I am passionate about helping people understand and explore the way of Jesus in a way that’s authentic, that sticks to the basic principles of our faith, but is fresh, innovative and creative and uses language and methods people can understand to do that. I can feel even as I’m writing this that the adrenaline is pumping, because this is what I’m so passionate about.
To me the way of Jesus doesn’t need to be separated off into a corner, it needs to be on the same table as all the other world views, part of the bigger conversation about life. Perceptions of what the way of Jesus and church is all about, and what it really is, in the eyes of the majority need to be changed and people need to have their eyes opened to what church really is, and the way of Jesus is really all about - that it’s not a religion, but its a way of life, its the best way to live, that its about bringing a new creation right in the midst of this one.
I know part of my role in that is writing and creating things which help people understand that, and that talking about it to people, and in my role in my own church I can do that to a degree as well, as a leader and someone in ministry who speaks occasionally leads the occasional meeting. I am sure my role in that will evolve and change over time, and grow.
But how does this relate to you, I hear you ask.
Well the point is that whatever you do on your sabbath, it needs to open your eyes to who you are.
As we try and figure out what is our Sabbath - what we need to do to feed our soul, to make us feel fresh and inspired, to give ourselves peace, rest and refreshment - we also have to figure out what it is that isn’t our Sabbath.
Sabbath needs to be a break from whatever we do for the rest of the week, a break from how we create, what we do for work, what we give our energies to for the rest of the week.
So in order to figure out what we do for a break, we need to be sure of what we’re doing the rest of the week.
Sabbath compels us to re-examine our lives and see what we’re doing with them, it compels us to look at what we’re giving our lives to and see if that is what we were made to do, if that’s the work that God wants for us. When we are planning for Sabbath - and in Jewish culture they plan the whole week around it and spend all week preparing for it - then we need to know what are lives are really about, who we’re living for, what matters most to us.
Once we’ve done that, we need to make sure we’re doing it, so that we can then take a proper Sabbath which really refreshes us and makes us alive again.
So, ultimately, knowing our Sabbath helps us to know and find ourselves.
What are you giving your energies to?
Is it what you were made for?
Does it make you feel alive?
Do you believe there’s something more you could be doing?
The Bible tells us to constantly examine ourselves, and in Genesis we’re given a pattern for living - 6 days work, a day’s rest - which is declared Holy. So we need to get our patterns right, and we need to examine ourselves to ensure the story we’re living, the rhythm of our lives, is the one God planned for us.
Its one of the most important things we can ever do.