Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm on Holiday

Tomorrow, I practice the liturgy of my life for these many years.

After I pronounce the Benediction at the close of worship, I'll get in my already packed ride, and drive south about 500 miles.

No lingering, no extra stuff, I'm outahere in an "Elvis has left the building" kinda way. I'll take almost two of the four weeks I'm allowed during this time away.

But just what is it?

The language of our culture calls this thing I'm about to do "vacation." And I've used that term for most of my life.

But recently, I looked at the etymology of that word.

One definition, from the Latin vacātiō, vacātiōn-, means freedom from occupation with other allusions to freedom as leisure.

Freedom from what occupies - I like that - not really good at it, regardless of where I am geographically. It is the bane of most clergy person's existence. When are we ever truly away?

Our friends from England call their time apart "holiday." Pretty obvious that holiday is an alteration of "holy day."

There are all kinds of those - secular, national, religious - and as it is this week in our country and in our churches, we seek to find an appropriate balance between the two.

A word I've lived with - we may hold two citizenships, one in the Realm of God and one as a citizen of a country - but they are not dual, as in equal. Anything and everything, even a country's observance of it's Independence (which gets my red, white and blue blood pumping just like everyone else), must never supplant what occurs in the context of Christian worship. If the whole of worship focuses on anything other than who God is in Jesus Christ and the sustaining work of the Spirit to guide us, it is idolatrous. Period.

But being on "holiday." Holy days. Feels like something to which I might need to aspire. For this time apart, if it is to be edifying, cannot be only that to which I might think I'm entitled. Neither can it be "freedom from occupation." Rather, this time is the place in which re-creation is known. To be re-made, re-created, re-minded of the nature of all the relationships I have and that each is sacred.

That is my hope.

That is my prayer.

And, frankly, it is my expectation. And the true measure of whether or not I've been able to do that is this - if I, after returning to my work, say out loud, that I "need a vacation from my vacation," then, I didn't get it, and an extraordinary opportunity has been lost.

That whole "vacation from my vacation" thing? That'll come next year, as it looks like it's time to take the crew to Orlando.

Jeez, I'm tired already.

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