My dad, Dr. Peacock was a healer and I was in awe of him.
When I was a child, I remember him pulling wondrous things out of his little black bag – the things he would use to prod and poke me, if I claimed I was too sick to go to school. A stethoscope to listen to my chest. Tongue depressors to look down my throat. A little flashlight to peer into my ears. A little hammer to knock my knees which, mysteriously made me kick somehow.
Invariably he would pronounce me well, prescribe two aspirin and send me off to school.
(I won the perfect attendance ribbon – seven years running at Holy Family School!)
Being a doctor, of course, he worked doctor’s hours: weekends, holidays, Holy Days, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter – no exceptions. As a child, it seemed to me he was always making rounds. And on very rare occasions, I got to go around with him and troop behind him at the hospital – like an acolyte.
He was forever coming home late. After dinner was over. After we had already gone to bed.
Healing is exhausting work.
Just ask Jesus.
Jesus’ reputation followed him from town to town. Who is this wonderworker that restores sight to the blind and makes the lame to walk? Wherever he went, crowds pressed upon just to touch the hem of his cloak.
Just say the word, Jesus, and I shall be healed.
He cared for all who came to him — the sick whether in body or soul. But Jesus, just like us, had only 24 hours in his day. Just like us, he needs to eat, to sleep, gather his thoughts, recharge his spirit.
The Lord’s prescription? Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while. That includes him. That includes everybody.
He needs a solid 8 hours, like the Jesus Christ in the Superstar song:
Let the world turn without you tonight. Close your eyes and relax and think of nothing tonight.
Sunday is the Christian Sabbath (which we swapped out for Saturday, the seventh day of the week.) God rested from hanging the stars and stocking the oceans. God rested on the Sabbath and made it sacred.
The old Blue Laws, once upon a time, helped us to keep it holy.
On Sundays, we went to Mass, slid into the back pew, squirmed in our seats, and tried to look pious. We listened to the lessons, snoozed through the sermon, rattled off a few Hail Mary’s and nodded our heads in prayer.
Sunday afternoons after church were lazy and uneventful. Even my workaholic dad, Doctor Peacock put on a pair of jeans and puttered around his workbench. We read the Sunday comics, played board games, and took cat naps.
It was not all Let all mortal flesh keep silence. There were nine of us, after all. But we slowed WAY down. We stopped doing and just started being.
Not so true anymore, right? On Sundays we shop ‘til we drop. We’re glued to our devices: our smart phones and our MACS. We answer email, we return calls, slip in meetings. All stuff that could wait.
Sunday blurs into Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. You know what I mean.
Being summer, sabbatical time, we are a little better at this. But even our vacations are often over scheduled out the wazoo.
This Sunday, give it a try and see if you can keep it holy. Put down the newspaper. Leave the dishes in the sink. Leave the beds unmade. Go no further than your backyard. Swing in a hammock. Listen to music. Read a good book. Soak up a little silence along with the sun.
Close your eyes and listen. To the birds in the trees. The airplane overhead. The occasional breeze. Water gushing from a hose. Kids kicking soccer balls in the yard next door.
Tune in to the sound of your breath. The rhythm of your beating heart.
Be grateful for the life that surrounds you.
Be grateful for the life within you.
And for 24 hours, just like Jesus, let the world spin without you.
Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
It’s God prescription for a hurting world.