Detail of Peacock feathers

Detail of Peacock feathers

What do we say to an 85-year-old woman who wants to know about eternity and all that it holds? Who may have goals that have gone unmet? Who may have aches and wounds that need healing?

“Eternity utters a day” [1]  – These are the very last words, written by Abraham Joshua Heschel in his book The Sabbath. They are a never ending utterance, a cyclical breath that propels us forward.  They speak of being and creating, of the “I Will Be Who I Will Be”; the

Moses Before the Burning Bush by Marc Chagal

Moses Before the Burning Bush by Marc Chagal

One who reveals Oneself in an eternally burning bush. Yet within the fiery bush as within a day are thousands upon millions of endings, be they fiery or icy cold. But none are an end in themselves, all open up into a realm of possibility; mysterious and unknown. Always, the end blossoms a new beginning.

“The soul awakes, a trembling stranger, between two dim eternities,—the eternal past, the eternal future.”[2] Little Eva and Uncle Tom reading the Bible together in the Hush/brush Arbor; breaking the silence between to divides, revealing Christ, dying in order to bring liberation – unbeknownst to them – to others. Within that shared space they awake to eternity now. Their unmet goals are not yet. In their hearts they know that something wondrous is about to come. The time reading the Bible together they found meaning and purpose – they found Sabbath.

“The Sabbath arrives in the world, scattering a song in the silence of the night: eternity utters a day.”[3]

Weser Gospels ms. 755 fol 157v Incipit of John

Weser Gospels ms. 755 fol 157v Incipit of John

For Christians Sabbath entered the world through Jesus. Yet was always there all along. He came to preach good new to the poor, pardon prisoners, give sight to the blind, set the burdened and battered free, and declare the Jubilee![4] “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”[5] When Jesus moves in we find ourselves included amongst the ones that “God so loved”, included in the process of eternity speaking. Jesus’ ministry focused on healing so that people could have life and have it abundantly. Jesus focused on Love and God as pure act. He reminded us who the Giver of all creation is and how to sing praises. Jesus challenged us to see everything as an interconnected web of Love and to live our lives as if the kingdom of God is now. He taught us to surrender to Love In death Jesus became something new, something forever becoming; Christ within us calling us towards communion with the Holy One. And so we wait as God calls the world into being.

Eternity is full of energy; full of divine power. Eternity calls forth, creating our finite lives. We are finite manifestations of eternity. We are mirrors of the never ending abundance of Love flowing throughout creation. And in gratitude we look forward to the eternal Sabbath – a day overflowing with joy, peace and wholeness.

Heron on a Tree Trunk  by Maruyama Okyo

Heron on a Tree Trunk
by Maruyama Okyo

[1] Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath. ( New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951 ), 101.

[2] H. B. Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin II. xxii. 62  1852   accessed 11/12/13

[3] Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath. (New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951 ), 67.

[4] paraphrase of Luke4:17-20

[5] John 1:14 from The Message


About ndmetcalf

Ninabeth is an artist, writer, consultant, and local pastor in the United Methodist Church. She earned a BFA at RISD and a MDiv at Drew Theological School. Her art bears witness to environmental injustice and seeks to express lament and hope. " I am striving for a new way of seeing, listening and speaking about God in order to bring about healing and wholeness. I am daughter, sister, partner, and mother. I am lament , witness and praise . I am servant, shepherd, writer, preacher and artist. I am permeable, trusting, stubborn and kind. I am Martha, Mary and Lydia . I am mystic and pragmatic. I am a believer that “words make worlds” and little seeds of kindness grow and grow. I am community; family, friends, KUMC, Ridge & Valley, and the more than human. Above all, I am a child of God sometimes broken but always blessed."
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