Rev. Ron Rolheiser discusses in this session of Creating Sabbath the three main obstacles our culture has to Sabbath. In our culture we rarely live in a conscious moment. We are consumed by so many things, responsibilities, thoughts, etc that it is difficult, almost impossible to be contemplative. I know this personally to be true through my experiences leading retreats. The faith filled mom retreats were designed to give Sabbath to overworked moms. We had many very successful moms’ retreats. However, we would have had more if moms could overcome these three obstacles.
The three obstacles are narcissism, pragmatism and excessive restlessness. Narcissism is excessive self preoccupation. He quotes Descartes “I think therefore I am.” One of my sayings is “Our perception is our own reality”, because we live within our own little world. We could be in the most beautiful landscape in all the world but our minds are so wrapped up in our lives that we never even see the beauty. At other times in our lives we notice the beauty but we want to own it like the quote from Ettty Hillesum said. Rarely do we have an appreciative consciousness. Rev. Ron believes it is a natural instinct to be a bit narcissistic.
The second obstacle is pragmatism, we have to solve all the problems, we have to do our work, we have to get things done, and there is no extra time in life. We work, we work, we try to wind down, we rest, we get up and do it all again. We are consumed with performance what we do in life forms our self worth. I have written about this as well. The first thing a person asks at a party is what you do for a living, not who you are. Our lives are about how much we can get done so we move quickly through life and never notice it is over until the end when we can no longer change a thing.
The third obstacle is excessive restlessness. We are over stimulated in our modern culture filled with emails, texting, cell phones, the web, I phones etc. We cannot come down off of the movement and stimulation to look for Sabbath.
Rev. Ron refers to the gospel of John and the washing of the feet. Christ took off his outer garment. Rev. Ron suggests that we must take off our outer garments; narcissism, pragmatism and excessive restlessness in order to wash others feet, in order to get to the Sabbath. If we can take off these outer garments we will find that our undergarments reveal we are all children of God ready to be soaked in the Light of God in the Sabbath that He asks us to remember.