Shabbat in Arcata

Opening the refrigerator door this morning, I immediately saw the plate of left-over enchilada. It would be good in an omelette, I thought. Just as quickly I imagined the Mexican omelets I occasionally ate at a restaurant in Arcata, California. This was in the late 1980s while I was a university student.

Sidebar: I know, being forty years old—then—was pretty old to be doing an undergraduate degree. So, okay, it took me twenty years to figure out what I wanted to actually study. I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up, but I am having too much fun being an elder child to start on it.

Arcata Plaza, Arcata, California
Arcata Plaza, Arcata, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, this restaurant had the best omelets, especially one served with chilies, eggs, flour tortillas, and refried beans. It was almost always crowded, too, and even the wait was enjoyable. Sadly, I don’t recall the name of the place. I’ve mentioned before the shear pleasure I get from some restaurants, of sitting with an open Bible eating a delicious omelette. But while living in Arcata, I practiced my own form of Shabbat Rest, which made the breakfast experience Divine. I would put aside studies and work from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, and I’d do something totally different. For me it wasn’t about giving something up, or doing something religious, it was about restoration.

The military calls it R&R. No, not rock and roll. Rest and Recuperation. It’s time away from duty. It’s free time in which the soldier may recover, to be better fit to serve in his or her regular duties.

Home Leave is what it’s called by the Department of State (DOS), which has Americans stationed in embassies and consulates throughout the world. Every two years, these “Foreign Service Officers” and DOS Staffers are provided with transport back to the United States. It serves a couple of interesting purposes. For one, it is the very needed rest and relaxation officers and staff require to ensure fitness. In some cases, they receive medical and dental care not available at their duty stations, too. The other reason is to re-enter the American lifestyle, to be home again.

If we think about being in this world, but not of it, then it makes sense for us, too, to have a type of home leave. We celebrate a Shabbus Rest with the Lord Y’shuaJesus, allowing the break in routine and the Holy Spirit to minister to our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual selves.

While in Arcata, I used to run several miles each day. But on Saturday, my Sabbath, I ran a different route, often through the incredible redwood forest. I saw different sights, heard different sounds. It was a refreshing change from the flats toward the beach I usually ran. I also would read books. Not school books, but I’d read novels or some non-fiction. I’d occasionally operate my amateur radio, or take a long bicycle ride along the coast. And, yes, I had more time to spend delving into the Bible and studying it.

The idea of getting out of the routine isn’t new: it’s the reason people take holidays or vacations. For me, my shabbat in Arcata, during the two years I spent there, were times of Divine Refreshing, a day dedication to Lord Y’shuaJesus, and His restoration of me, and a form of obedience to the scripture in Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The writing above flowed out easily on Monday afternoon. But as I looked at the actual scripture, I hesitated. I thought perhaps I was unclear of the concept of stopping work. It seemed best to me to come back to it on Tuesday, pray about it for a bit beforehand. So now it is Friday, and I’m coming back to it. It’s been a hectic week!

The answer actual came on Tuesday. While listening to “Gospel” music on the way somewhere, a song on the radio came on that really touched me. Bill Winston’s “Released” spoke about coming to the Lord and being released from the work, the striving, of trying to gain a life. I felt myself justified by the work of Messiah, Who fulfilled the Law, and granted me the freedom to honor Him in my observance of the Sabbath.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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