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Caitlin Kennell Kim, seminary grad, baby wrangler, ordinary radical, writes about the life of a convert in the Catholic Church and explores how faith and everyday life intersect.

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October 21st, 2012

Keeping It Real

 
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My dad is the king of Sunday morning. When I was growing up, Sunday was a day of ritual and beauty. Also, it should be noted that it had nothing to do with church or putting on fussy clothes or being anywhere at any particular time. It was about waking up to the smell of eggs cooking on the stove. (And not just eggs – dad eggs. These involved throwing random things from the refrigerator and freezer into the skillet to create awesomeness. I have tried this. Apparently it’s dad-specific magic.) It was about padding down to the living room in my jammies to find John Wayne or Judy Garland waiting to take me on some new adventure as I snuggled up on the couch and was issued a bowlful of eggs as provisions for my journey. It was about my dad taking his place in his big green chair to serve as my trusty guide. It was about family and digging in your heels to make time pass a little slower for just one day and enjoying each other… really and intentionally enjoying each other. It was Shabbat Shalom par excellence.

Now I have a family of my own and I try to keep some of the traditions of my non-traditional upbringing. I have an abiding love for ritual — whether that ritual belongs to my family of origin or my family of faith. I make a big Sunday breakfast before our midday mass and everyone pads downstairs in their jammies and snuggles up to the table for biscuits, eggs and bacon. We get everyone dressed and ready for church (an adventure easily rivaling any cattle-rustling/stampede-fleeing/mean hombre-chasing scene in a John Wayne movie).

At mass we pray, we sing, we kneel, and we receive the One who receives us with joy and forgiveness. We are reminded that the burdens of our week and the burdens of our community and the burdens of our world may be heavy, but we don’t bear them alone. The Sabbath is a day to put down our work and obligations and weariness and remember that. Remember that in this life we are not left alone under the weight of our stress and responsibility and heartache. We belong to the community of our family and the community of our faith and the community of our world. We belong in community with God (who, by virtue of the holy mystery of the Trinity, is community). Not only do we need to keep the Sabbath holy by making it a day of prayer, we also need to keep it real by making it a day of rest and intentional togetherness.

Lately I’ve been giving this topic — the topic of how to live a weekly Sabbath that honors God and tradition and the gift of our young, busy family — a lot of thought. For me, it boils down to this: eating together, praying together and playing together. The common denominator? Together. That’s keeping the Sabbath real. And holy.

How do you spend your Sabbath? How do you keep it real and holy?

 
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The Author : Caitlin Kennell Kim
Caitlin Kennell Kim is a full-time baby wrangler, writer, and ponderer of all things theological. She earned her Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She currently lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their four small children.
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  • Caitlin Kennell Kim

    Thanks for your thoughts and ideas, everyone! MaryAnn, I love the idea of the Sabbath as a “delight!” I used a Bible search engine to find the passage (Isaiah 58:13). The preceding passages all have to do with acts of justice, mercy, and liberation as essential to being in right relationship with God. Anyone have some thoughts about the connection between justice and Sabbath?

  • Becky D.

    We have generally made Sundays the day that we invite other families, or our own extended family, over for dinner. I treasure the flexibility of pot roast for this purpose.

  • MaryAnn McKibben Dana

    Love this post and the comments. Our family spent a year focusing very intentionally on Sabbath (even wrote a book about it) and my “aha” moment came when I discovered the book of Isaiah which says to keep the Sabbath as a “delight.” There’s something very inviting in that word–it opens up a whole set of tantalizing possibilities. We did everything from jumping in leaf piles to brewing beer.

  • Augustine P.

    Anyone heard of Medeleine Delbrel? She was a french women part of the worker priest movement in france. She wrote beautifully on the life of lay people. Some of her writings:
    commoncatholic.blogspot.com

  • Gretchen

    As an Episcopal priest, Sundays are no longer my Sabbath days, so I’ve switched to Mondays. My Mondays always include sleeping in, cuddling with my animals (and husband when available), tidying the house, and cooking something — readying myself and my home for the week ahead. Oh and I try never ever to work or check church email … this has taken 3 plus years to learn.

  • Melinda Burgess

    Because I’m a Pennsylvania girl gone west, I’ve established the ritual of keeping in touch with friends and family on the weekends, especially Sundays. It has become my way of celebrating togetherness with those that I love and miss.

  • Beth B.

    I’m really trying to keep Sunday afternoons as work-free as possible. This will fall by the wayside next month when I start having youth group at 4:30, but even then, laundry, vacuuming, and other chores need to either be done during the week if Saturday’s busy or wait until Monday. I like the idea of togetherness, but that’s usually what Saturdays are for us. I guess maybe we have a split Sabbath? :-) I do like George’s idea though…

  • Maria

    Besides Sunday morning church, food is the biggest part of our Sunday tradition as well! It’s my day to sleep in, so hubby and 3yo (with a certain 10mo heler) make cinnamon rolls for when I get up. After afternoon naps, the 3yo heads back to the kitchen, with me this time, and we make pizza dough and homemade pizzas for dinner. I don’t know how this came about, but there you have it :)

  • George B

    In France, and to a certain degree since then, Sunday was “Giant Pot of Soup for the Week” day. Cook it slowly, read a book, have a friend over to split a baguette or five. But really it was all about the soup.

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