Putting away all earthly anxieties

Sabbath Manifesto

A Collect for Saturdays

O God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 99)

Today, apparently, is the National Day of Unplugging sponsored by the Sabbath Manifesto, whose “cell phone sleeping bag” is pictured above. The Sabbath Manifesto promotes ten principles for a weekly day of rest, starting with “Avoid Technology.”

Sunday — even though some Christians refer to it as the Sabbath — is pretty much a work day for me, starting at 7 am with preparations for the 8 am service at St. Thomas and ending after our Education for Ministry session wraps up around 2:30 pm. That means Saturday bears the brunt of weekend tasks.

I don’t know about you, but I have nine things on my to-do list for today, and five of them will require me to be on the web or pulling together a presentation or writing something (this blog post is one, so that will leave four more).

If I’m honest with myself, though, only one item on my list actually requires me to use the computer. Gotta fill out the expense reports for work so I’ll get reimbursed! The rest I could actually do more quietly, by reading and writing and thinking.

And if I’m really honest with myself, I could have done my expense reports on Thursday night at the hotel.

It’s the whole “putting away all earthly anxieties” thing that’s really tough, isn’t it? If we’re not anxious about something, we worry that we’re slacking. If we’re not connected, we worry that we’re missing something. If we can’t stare at the shiny screen, we’re anxious that we won’t know how to amuse ourselves.

One of my first bosses is an excellent writer, especially gifted at writing personal thank-you notes. One of his idiosyncracies is to use the word “eager” instead of the word “anxious.” Try it yourself sometime, as I have done for years now, and you’ll see a subtle difference.

Rather than being anxious, why not be eager? Why not put away your anxieties and give your eagerness a chance to play, at least one day a week?

I’m going to try it today. Seriously, right after I finish my expense report.

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