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Living faith

Holy leisure—how do you spend your time?

Created date

July 24th, 2012

Encouraged by falling gas prices, 80% of us will take a summer vacation. We will visit family and friends or see some new sights or sunbathe on the beach, spending an average of $3,200. But does rest and relaxation contribute to a living faith, or just waste precious time and money when there are so many good works to be done?

Apex of creation

We get a clue from God, who rested (Sabbath) from the work of creation on the seventh day and prescribed a day of rest and worship into Israel s weekly rhythm. Note how the day of rest is the apex of creation. The six days were made for the Sabbath, not the other way around, as if we rest just so we can work better. Being created in God s image, we are to imitate the work/rest pattern. Working, we advance the kingdom of God; resting, we enjoy it. Church fathers spoke of holy leisure a sense of balance in life, the ability to pace ourselves, to rest and take time to enjoy beauty. Many of our holidays originated as holy days, and some of the greatest works of art, drama, music, and literature drew their inspiration from religion. The word leisure comes from the Latin scola, from which we derive our word school. Rabbi Norman Lamm challenges us to use leisure time to cultivate our bodies, souls, and minds, rather than dull our brains with that ceaseless flow of tripe and terror that issues from television or worse yet, seek the cheap thrills of social, moral, and legal delinquency. Leisure is the antidote for the idols of productivity and hectic amusements, according to philosopher Josef Pieper, who defines it as an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. It allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. The beauty and vastness of the ocean and the mountains shout God s majesty and stir my soul. I burst into hallelujahs at the dancing waves and the glistening snowcaps. How do you use leisure time to grow in faith? Please write to me by regular mail at 703 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville, MD 21228, or email at