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Sabbath and play

Sabbath and play by Julia Seymour

Gripping my cellphone in my hand, I squinted at the screen to see the time. Nine o’clock! It was time to call. When the person on the other end of the line answered, I introduced myself and said my son would not be in school that day. “Is he sick?” she asked.

“No.” I replied. “Resting on Easter Monday is part of our religion. He’ll be in tomorrow.” “Okay,” she responded slowly. “That might not be an excused absence.” I knew this before I called and I was ready, “We know, but we have to do what’s right for us. He’ll be in tomorrow.”

With that, I pressed the button and ended the call. Throwing myself back on the pillows, I sighed with a huge sense of relief. After a harried week of Easter preparation and celebration, I slid deeper into my covers. Sabbath rest felt like a thick comforter, holding warmth close to me. It sounded like the click of Legos from downstairs, where the now truant kindergartner had already been building for an hour. It smelled like the inside curve of my toddler’s neck — sweet and fresh — as she curled next to me and poked at my face, “Nose. Eyes. Ears. Cheek.”

We were taking a sabbath day, a little 24-hour break from our regular duties, to recharge, relate and rejoice. It was a privileged decision. As a pastor, it was easy enough to stay home the day after Easter since nothing pressing had been scheduled for that day. If I depended on hourly wages, needed every dime of income or had a recalcitrant boss, taking a whole day off would seem like a cruel joke. However, sabbath is not just for the privileged — it is a privilege, a privilege to observe and to keep. The prayers of our bodies in stillness, in the creative and in play, reconnect us with the Holy all around us.

The Rev. Julia Seymour serves Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage, Alaska. She enjoys the Alaskan life with her husband, their two children and her dog. Julia loves approaching everything with child­like wonder, including worship and community service.

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