This morning for some reason I was thrown back into thoughts of “Saturday in the convent,” my early days in the novitiate when Saturday was the day for housework. It made (and probably still makes) sense for people who worked a “regular work week” to consider Saturday that way. Now, in our country, there seems to be little that is “regular.” A recent addition to our shorthand is 24/7, a concept that sometimes seems less than advisable or even possible. Grocery stores, pharmacies and fast-food restaurants are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – necessary perhaps because there are three shifts now in many businesses. People are always “on the go” and even “Sabbath” – that concept of a holy rest day – has become a thing of the past. For me there’s still something in the feeling of waking up on Saturday that seems possible, some sense of putting things aright that comes from cleaning house and straightening things out. Whether it’s paying bills or washing windows, the inner renewal that is a by-product of such activities sometimes sets us on a more balanced course for the week to come.
Psalm 85 was obviously written about bigger things but feels right to repeat here, just as a call to the daily tasks of this Saturday. Here are two ways it is said as a starter for those of us who can only take one step at a time but long to see the big picture fulfilled.
I will hear what God proclaims: the Lord – for he proclaims peace. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation along the way of his steps.
To every one who turns their face toward you, you come so close and glory floods the landscape of the soul. And in the secret places of the heart your mercy and your truth shall meet at last in full embrace, and right-relationship and peace kiss one another there. So truth is finally born in full; it springs from earth full grown, and heaven reaches out restoring balances to all. And from that marriage, prosperity unmeasured fills the lands, and yields a harvest of unimagined good, and makes the path of justice smooth between all peoples everywhere, for everything in you knows perfect peace.