by Rev. Racquel Ray

Associate Minister of Congregational Life


The book of Genesis 2:2-3 reads, “And on the seventh day God ended God’s work which God had done, and God rested on the seventh day from all God’s work which God had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it God rested from all God’s work which God had created and made.” Beloved, even God rests!

In the past few weeks, I have been deeply reminded to return to a praxis of Sabbath Keeping. I have been over scheduled with meetings, events, appointments, and obligations. Add to the schedule that it is May – a time for my children’s schools to add end-of-year concerts, field trips, meetings, and special days. And, May and June are also a busy time at church as the program year winds down with Jubilation, Baccalaureate, Annual Meeting, and end-of-year reports. In addition, I helped the Town of Barrington with the Memorial Day Observances and the Barrington PRIDE event and helped organize the SNEUCC Clergy Wellness Day. Needless to say, the Scripture from Genesis has been screaming loudly in my head. I feel the Holy Spirit saying, “Racquel, remember to rest.”

I know I’m not alone. Every parent of school-aged kids I’ve talked to over the past few weeks is experiencing the same overwhelm. I have seen many of our church members at the Choralpalooza, High School Orientation, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts graduation ceremonies, and at the parades.

In the middle of the cold and cloudy dark days of winter, I scheduled our family summer vacations! We are planning on two separate trips; one in June and one in August to bookend our summer time together as a family. It is our tradition to go away as soon as school is over and just before it (and the church program year) resumes in late August into early September. I was so relieved when I turned the page in my calendar to June and saw VACATION written in bold letters across the week in June. Knowing that there is a break down the road gives me the freedom to really ‘go for it’ between now and then.

In the meantime, I know I still need moments of respite during the day and during the week. I enjoy – and deeply need – my morning quiet and coffee time at 5am. I enjoy Friday nights with my kiddos watching a scary show, or a super hero movie, or a series. I often indulge in a ‘pastor’s nap’ or a walk around a conservation area on Sunday afternoons.

But, yesterday, I added another favorite. I turned off my phone – and all of its notifications – and went to the beach. There is something about the wind and the waves that drowns out inner dialogue and calms the mind, body, and spirit. And, I read a book that has been on my reading list that has nothing to do with liturgy, sacraments, church, ministry, or service. And I was able to catch some deep diaphragmatic breaths while breathing in the salt water spray and scent. What a blessing!

Luke 4:16 reads, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” Jesus kept the Sabbath. He also had a praxis of going away from the crowds and his followers to pray, to worship, to be alone in the wilderness.

Beloved, let this be a reminder to us all. REST. Take a moment wherever you find yourself in life’s journey and schedule just to keep a sabbath. It will look different for each of us and we can learn from each other but ‘just do it’. Remember to keep a sabbath.