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January 26, 2007
Already, the kosher grocery was getting ready to close as I passed by, although the sun was still high in the sky. Everyone must be home and settled by sundown. I imagine the women in their houses and apartments, lighting the Sabbath candles as their children watch, fascinated as all children are with the little flame. I imagine their meal together, as special a meal as time and budget allow, and their quiet tomorrow.

Perhaps it is not as lovely in real life as it is in my imagining, but it is certainly lovely there. Perhaps there are degrees of Sabbath observance in Jewish homes, as there are degrees of observance in Christian ones. Perhaps people there fall short, as we do.

But there is no mistaking the Sabbath hunger in my soul. Friday night feels like Sabbath in our house, too, as I am usually working and traveling on the Christian one. Sometimes my travel must begin on Friday, and then I am denied our Friday Sabbath: dinner with just Q and me, no company or phone calls, a date at 8pm with Gwen Ifill on PBS, a quiet reading time, an early bedtime.

We all have a right to sabbath. God ordained it from the beginning, we read in Genesis, placing it last in the ascending order of creation, even higher than human beings, at its very pinnacle. As productive as we must be all week, the predictable day of rest has not moved from its place of honor among us.

Is there an evening you could declare as your Sabbath, even if you cannot manage a whole day? An evening during which you do not accept calls, an evening that becomes well known among your friends and family as the evening they don't call you? If you cannot keep your Sabbath every week, might you keep it often enough that you come to long for it when it goes missing?

Christ Church, New Brunswick, NJ welcomes Barbara Crafton as guest preacher this Sunday at 8 and 10am. This historic church dates from the colonial era. 5 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (732-545-6262
Come for a three day silent Lenten Retreat at wonderful Trinity Conference Center, West Cornwall, CT, Friday evening, March 9 through Sunday noon, March 11. The Rev. Barbara Crafton will be presenting five meditations entitled "Death: The Lighter Side." Cost: $300/person for a double room; $350 for a single room. Two nights, and six of the best meals you will ever eat! To reserve a space contact Carol Rice at 203-322-6390 or Don't delay, this retreat is filling up quickly!
This week on the Farm: Fr. Matthew shows off the Farm to his YouTube audience; Carol Stone suggests an energy pledge for us all in Ways of the World; a special deal just for teachers on the new movie "Freedom Writers" on the HodgePodge; children's thoughts on angels in More or Less Church, and 444 candles for prayer intentions currently lit on the Vigils page -- go there, and let Farmers all over the world pray for your concerns, too. All at
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