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"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..." Ecclesiastes 3. 1

I know how it happened! For a good reason my routine was interrupted and, having missed the usual slot, I never got around to writing yesterday's post. There were several other opportunities during the day but, by then, I was on to other things and never gave it a thought... Until now and I suddenly realised.

Times and seasons are the rhythms of life. When absorbed mindlessly they become ruts which, if we are not careful, can themselves cut so deep that we begin to lose sight of our surroundings and where we are going. Yet, at their best, these rhythms are sustaining, boosting our stamina and shaping our progress.

Lines of rhythm can be traced throughout scripture: from the rhythm of creation, in which God builds over six days and then rests on the seventh, to Jesus's practice, of sustaining his earthly ministry with regular retreats for prayer and reflection. The Sabbath itself is a weekly invitation to invest our own lives with "rhythms of grace".

It is an outrage that society as a whole pours disdain on the idea of a day apart, demanding that Sunday should be like any other day of the week. Yet it must be admitted that many Christians are sympathetic, having suffered a legalistic imposition of the Sabbath principle. So how can we rediscover "Sabbath" - and indeed all other aids to rhythm - as channels of liberation and refreshment?

I have been enjoying an on-line discussion with some university friends about the final stanza of Rainer Maria Rilke's poem 'Autumn Day'. At first reading it mourns the ebbing of opportunity. Yet, allowing for the annual cycle of summer and winter, those "fallen leaves" are becoming the source of a new season of growth and life.

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