If I’m calculating the time difference correctly, I’m composing this post just as my church is preparing to start its traditional worship service. Perhaps it’s appropriate, then, that I am currently enjoying what might be the most “sabbathy” day of my sabbatical thus far. Don’t get me wrong. I miss my family and my church family. And since my sabbatical began, I’ve had some very enjoyable days going to Disney World with my family and visiting with my mother. But today is the first Sunday in quite some time but I’ve had the opportunity just to “be.” No responsibilities. Nowhere I have to travel. Nothing to do but to seek out those activities that are restful and renewing.
So, “How have I used a day like that?” you might wonder. Well, I started with morning worship at Immanuel Church Dublin. Conveniently, the church was located just down the street from where I’m staying. And although we might describe it as a “storefront church,” I was warmly welcomed; the message was solid; and even though there are a few congregations that can touch our praise band for excellence, it was fun to sing along without having to think about what was supposed to happen next.
After worship, I set off for Saint Stephen’s Green, a lovely park nestled in the heart of downtown Dublin. Conveniently, the park has a lovely shopping center located right beside it. So after stopping there for a bite to eat, I set off into the park, found a lovely park bench, and spent a couple hours listening to music, reading the scriptures, and watching both people and birds enjoy the afternoon.
This evening, I’m hoping to visit a local pub that is rumored to have excellent live Irish music. However, there have been rain showers threatening for much of the day. And since this pub is a bit of a hike from my hotel, I may have to check the forecast before I make the trip. (I know I’ll be spending some time in the rain before this trip is done, but I see no need to hasten the experience.) Still, even if that doesn’t happen, it’s been a wonderfully relaxing day. And I’m so thankful to God, my family, and my church family for making an experience like this possible.
Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to take a day trip out of Dublin to visit the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, the site of an early Christian monastic community. More details to follow…