Shabbat Shalom: Grace

In addition to—the tranquility of Sabbath peace; the blessings of Sabbath worship; the refreshing of Sabbath rest; those Selah moments of pause like mini-Sabbaths that can be taken throughout the week; and the joy of Sabbath reflection—is the affirmation of GRACE.

We know that God established Sabbath as a day of rest at the end of the 7-day week. On the 6th day human beings were created. So clearly there wasn’t much work, if any at all, for humankind to do between them being created and Sabbath rest being instituted. So, if not to rest from work, what then was the purpose of that very first sabbath? And what can that teach us about sabbath rest today?

Imagine that you’re Adam or Eve. It’s Friday and you came to know yourself and to meet the One who created you. And together with your Creator you start to explore the vastness of your garden-home. You are enveloped in nature. You go off to sleep with wonderment and immense joy and wake up just as blissful with jubilant expectation to see what else the Creator has to reveal of His eARTh. And He bids you “good morning, welcome to your first Sabbath!” He invites you to explore and reflect on all He did for you despite you having done nothing. He invites you to receive Sabbath grace.

Grace, simply defined in Christian theology, is a favor given to us by God only on the basis that He desires for us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it (i.e. it’s unmerited).

Nature is one way grace is demonstrated. We did nothing to have received the gift of nature. All its wonder and splendor is the grace that Sabbath affords us to reflect on.

Join me on this pictorial ode to nature, journeying through Arizona:

Surveying the incisions that over time water has cut into the plateau revealing layer after layer of rock in hues so red to influence the naming of Sedona, Arizona—Red Rock Country.
Whether you look to the left or the right, your eyes will land on stunning red rock vistas.
Determined to climb to the highest level of the Bell Rock to bask in the earth’s energy from the vortex, I often got down on all fours.
There she is in her full splendor, the Bell Rock, as only can be fully appreciated from above in a helicopter ride over … I hiked that!
Getting re-centered in a circle of cairns at the 1st level of the Bell Rock vortex. Vortex is a concentrated area of energy rising up from the earth. If you’re sensitive enough to the surrounds, you do feel the energy.
Nature equally awes in the Grand Canyon with massive boulders so precise and grandiose …
…and mountain ranges flat like a table top juxtaposed to ragged-edged peaks draped in golden sunlight.
No trip to the Grand Canyon is complete without a roadside encounter with the wild life whether grazing lazily along the highway…
… or skillfully scaling rock faces. These sheep mountaineers blend seamlessly into their environment. Had this enchanting encounter while hiking the Bright Angel Trail in …
… the Grand Canyon.
Arizona also boasts plants flowering in arid landscapes …
… and bigger-than-life cactus growing wild…
…or tamed for exterior decor.
We often think of grace in the context of Jesus’ death on the cross. This crucifix hangs in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, one of the strongest vortex sites (there are 4 vortexes in Sedona).
The Chapel of the Holy Cross, built in between 2 towering red rock formations in Sedona is the perfect place to sit in quiet reflection of all of nature surrounding you while gazing up on the embodiment of grace—an image of Christ hanging from a cross.

In every direction throughout Arizona there is the beauty of the natural wonders of nature, and this too is a reminder of the grace of Sabbath.

Shabbat Shalom. May you experience the grace of the Sabbath in nature today and every day.

The sun sets on my time in Arizona, blanketing the horizon over the Grand Canyon.
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Photo credit—me

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In creative solidarity, Dee

8 thoughts on “Shabbat Shalom: Grace

  1. Pingback: Shabbat Shalom: Rest in Stillness – Poems & More: createdbyDEEsign

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  5. Ace Emanuel

    This was so beautiful and the tranquility that we can find in Jesus is so evident in his handiwork, clearly seen in your captured pictures. These verses comes to mind – Psalm 19:1 (The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork.)
    Mark 2.27 – (Then Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.)

    Liked by 1 person

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