maren-german church

iCLT News: The Best View

September 12, 2023
by Maren Tyedmers Hange
Minister of Spiritual Formation and Soulcare

The Best View

Summer…. vacations…family reunions…picnics…For many, summer is the season of relaxing, resting and disconnecting from the regular rhythms. Growing up in Germany this was a given whether you were in your first year with a company on your 25th year. Even Jesus sought to get away from it all at times, sending the disciples off so he could spend some time by himself …with God.

I have been reflecting on the sabbath and sabbath practices for awhile and how they shift our perspective. When we disconnect from it all things that are urgent and oh so important become insignificant. These times remind us that “from dust we came and to dust we return”. They help us see that we are stewards simply of what God has done and continues to do. We are along for the ride watching for God’s presence and call.

One of my cousins retired recently from driving trains. He drove the fast ones (German ICE), the ones that travel at over 200 m/h and take about 2.5 miles to come to a stop. It is a very different experience to be in the driver’s seat than to ride on the train. If not for his stories I would never know what it is like to be in the driver’s seat. For example, if you travel to Cologne, Germany, by train you catch a glimpse of the Cathedral if you are sitting on the left-hand side on the way into the main train station after you cross over the Rhine river. If you are sitting on the right, you miss it completely. As the driver though you have an amazing view driving straight at the Cathedral before turning into the station.

The stories of Jesus help us to see as Jesus sees. In Jesus’ stories we find a rhythm of work and rest. Rest, sabbath rest, invites us to be still enough to notice what God is doing in the world, open enough to invite him in and quiet enough to hear God’s perspective and to let God be in control.

Retired AMBS professor and Spiritual Director Marlene Kropf when staying at a monastery for retreat commented, “I was so habituated to keeping at a job until it was done that it took great effort to lay aside my tools [at midday] and walk away from a half-weeded row of garden vegetables. But the struggle to pause showed me how upside-down my attitudes had become.”

Once a week we pause and remember that the world does not turn around us, our work, our worries, our… but allow time to stand still and center around God the Creator who is still creating, the Redeemer who is still redeeming, the Sustainer who is still sustaining. And to remember that God is in the driver’s seat and has the best view.