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Hallo again to all.

It is, in the traditional reckoning, Low Sunday: the second Sunday of Easter, the octave of the Easter Vigil, and the day on which in the ancient Church neophytes set aside the white robes in which they had been baptized just eight days ago. In modern times, it is often a Sunday on which senior clergy—exhausted by the rigors of Holy Week—take a day or two away from their parishes in order to rest a little.

This salutary custom is a fine thing, rooted in the good sense that rest is quite as important as work in most religious traditions. God rests after the six days of creation, and religious Jews have built a 'cathedral in time' out of the resulting sabbath. Christians have quarreled over the centuries about what sabbath means, and on what day it should be kept. Today we have a general thought that holy rest—be it on Friday, Saturday, Monday, or the odd Wednesday and Thursday—is part of a healthy spiritual life. Some take sabbaticals to work on matters apart from their regular work: but in contrast to the biblical pattern, even the seventh year is dedicated to work.

How does rest function in a world inhabited increasingly by digital natives, when a day spent away from email seems to compound the next day in attention to email, when devices or desires pull us again and again to see what demands our minds ought to meet, when vanity impels us to check how many have liked our posts or commented on them?

Many friends set up an email bounce-back, letting all know that they are engaged in such-and-such a work for such a period of days, and promising that they'll be in reply as they are able. Others have long ago given up the chimera of inbox zero, acknowledging that even on Easter Monday and even on Low Sunday there will be parish emergencies, personal urgencies, and still aside from this the friendly correspondents writing to wish us a joyous Eastertide. Some mystical creatures unplug entirely for days at a time, and we're not sure how they stay afloat.

This Low Sunday we wonder how Anglicans around the world are resting—how we are working—how we are balancing rest and work—how our daily practice informs our awareness that we must recharge in order to be able to serve others. There is a bright tranquility about Eastertide in the same way that a hush and calm come to the world each year during Christmastide.

Is there a modern via media to be found, in which we can attend to inbox triage and still walk or read or write or sleep or pray for a few hours each day when we are in attitudes of sabbath? We don't generally go in for half-measures, but professional responsibility compels us to stay on top of ongoing projects even when we aren't firing at full steam.

Write us, if you like, about your times of rest and its varied opposites. We imagine that advice on this wise is among the better topics for crowdsourcing.

See you next week.


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8 April 2018

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