Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: rest

Finding One Moment

[With apologies for the several updates — I hadn’t published the previous three sermons by accident.]

Our reading today comes to us from Christine Organ, from her essay titled. “Taking a Modern-Day Sabbath.”

By unplugging for one day each week, my modern-day, personal Sabbath seeks to balance the utility of technology with a little patience and remind myself that life unfolds on a timetable that is not always within my control. By removing the distractions one day each week, I am slowly learning to become comfortable with my own discomfort in order to gain a certain depth of self-awareness and figure out how to work through, not around, problems.

With a mantra of “turning off to tune in,” the modern Sabbath almost feels like capturing time in a bottle. Time is a funny thing, you know. On some days, it seems to slog along, and then, in the blink of an eye, a month or a year or a decade has passed and we are reeling from the loss of our Earthly time. By separating one day from the frenzied blur of the remaining six, by disconnecting from the frenetic pace of technology to reconnect with the sacredly simple, the modern-day Sabbath allows us to slow time and savor its goodness. Because nestled into that little nugget of slowed time is a heady calm and a mild exhilaration in the stillness and the quiet and the waiting.

Just over a month ago, I was in Boston for a minister’s seminar. It was good to be in that city again, to be surrounded by a world where primordial America is blended with the modern rush and bustle of commerce.

While the seminar itself was described as a retreat, it was one of the more exhausting weeks of my life in the past months. Unitarian Universalists have this terrible habit of having retreats that are all about work, checking off lists, and squeezing every ounce of opportunity out of a moment. Maybe it’s not just Unitarians, but people and institutions in general these days. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Eve: Just for a Moment

Every year I find myself in the same situation. The year creeps along and the days turn colder and colder (or in our case, warmer and warmer) and suddenly you hear it. Sometimes sooner than you would ever want to. You might hear it on the radio, on television, or, as most of us have, at a store.

You’ll see it pop up in decorations and advertisements, it will seek you out. Christmas, it would seem, can’t wait to be here. And so it comes closer and faster every year. We are instantly swept up, whether we like it or not, in our checklists or the mayhem of shopping during this ever growing season. People who don’t celebrate Christmas can’t help but be confronted with the baby in a manger, as well as nearly getting trampled while trying to get a bargain.

It wasn’t always like that, though. Or perhaps it was and I just don’t remember. What I do remember is being a child and waiting patiently, counting down the days, and getting excited when the school Christmas party came along. It meant one thing, the countdown was almost over. Christmas was finally here!

And there was an exuberance about the whole thing. A rush of excitement instead of a rush for things. Sure, the presents and things were still a part of the equation, but the real rush of the holiday for me was seeing the half eaten plate of cookies in the morning and the empty glass of milk, seeing presents under the tree, and not having to leave my pajamas for most, if not all, of the day. Read the rest of this entry »