When we took Bliss on sabbatical last fall, one of the things she missed the most was her daycare. She happens to go to school at the Jewish Community Center, and attended on Friday mornings when they had a celebration of Shabbat geared for the toddler set. Once we were in Boston, she would pull out a coffee table, cover it with books, and demand that I sing the Shabbat song. Of course, I don’t know the Shabbat songs from her school. Happily, we were having a mini-college reunion with some friends that LS went to school with – and as it was Saturday, the observant Jews among them said a few particular prayers together. I asked if there was a particular song that little kids might sing for Shabbat, and they all started singing together. Bliss was clearly pleased that someone finally knew the Shabbat song: Shabbat Shalom, Shabbat Shalom, Shabbat Shabbat Shabbat Shabbat Shalom.
This past Sunday, after church, the mother of a high school friend was hanging around after church. Our church is co-owned by the Reform synagogue in town, and Bette was waiting for a meeting for the synagogue. She’d never met Bliss, so we went over to say hi and catch up. She greeted us the way you’d greet a fellow Jew on Saturday – “Shabbat Shalom!”
This idea of a peaceful sabbath is echoing in my life this year I suppose, as the current season of my life is valuing slow time over busy time, and being home over being at work. I don’t know how long that season will last, but the notion of the day of rest being for peace – peace in our hearts, peace in our lives, peace in our worlds – is one we Christians might borrow more heavily from our Jewish friends.
We are taking a different kind of sabbath as of tomorrow- the kind more commonly known as vacation. I’m hoping for peaceful days on the beach, and peaceful nights of rest for everyone. One of those is more likely than the other, but I can dream. I hope the week brings you moments of peace as well.