For me, living alone in a foreign country just learning how to ask for directions around a strange city, I frequently headed for what became my Sabbath places – the beach at Ashkelon during the winter and spring or the northern shores of
haYam Kineret (the Sea of Galilee) during the summer or fall. These particular places are tranquil and wonderfully empty at these times. Walking, occasionally wading in the water, or sitting on the shore I could reflect on concerns, puzzling situations, or life.
Upon reading the opening verses of Matthew 13 the memory of languid wavelets lapping in steady rhythm on a sandy shore swept over my entire being. How peaceful. Jesus, in the thick of his three-year ministry has had numerous recent encounters with Pharisees, Scribes, and even his own family members. He is facing so much more in the time ahead. A breeze stirs the air. It is warm, yet fresh – a gentle caress. He stands still and surrenders to this moment of peace. People, his followers, approach hungry for more.
Not wanting to completely relinquish this cherished moment, Jesus moves out into the water and settles down into a small fishing boat that rolls in time with life water’s beating heart. He begins to speak, this time telling the moral tales that are to mark his teaching ministry. He is speaking from his heart. He is speaking from his knowledge. He is speaking from his wisdom.
Life so cluttered with work, tasks, and planning for what we think we need. I am glad to be reminded of just how precious is our Sabbath Day – our Day of Rest – our Time for Peace.