Advent Meditation: Sabbath As Resistance …

In our own contemporary context of the rat race of anxiety, the celebration of Sabbath is an act of both resistance and alternative. It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods. Such an act of resistance requires enormous intentionality and communal reinforcement amid the barrage of seductive pressures from the insatiable insistences of the market, with its intrusion into every part of our life from the family to the national budget … But Sabbath is not only resistance. It is alternative. It is an alternative to the demanding, chattering, pervasive presence of advertising and its great liturgical claim of professional sports that devours all of our ‘rest time.’ The alternative on offer is the awareness and practice of the claim that we are situated on the receiving end of the gifts of God.
— Walter Brueggemann from Sabbath as Resistance

Called The Beloved

First of all, you have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.’
— Henri Nouwen from Life of the Beloved

Love of Self

It’s hard to sustain love for others over the long haul until we have a sense of inner abundance and sufficiency … It’s important to recognize that self-love is an unfolding process that gains strength over time, not a goal with a fixed end point. When we start to pay attention, we see that we’re challenged daily to act lovingly on our own behalf. Simple gestures of respect — care of the body, rest for the mind, and beauty for the soul in the form of music and art or nature — are all ways of showing ourselves love.
— Sharon Salzberg from Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

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