“When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day and finds it good.”
–Wendell Berry, 1979
It was during the winter of 2015 that I was especially challenged to bring my faith more honestly into the classroom. The previous summer, I spent two weeks at Calvin College in a Curriculum Theory class. My research reflected on the connection between liturgical practices and reading practices, and I was struck with the repetition of the liturgy–how it keeps coming back to the same verses and the same ideas year after year.
So in keeping with that tradition, I chose a “poet-laureate” for my AP literature class, one that we would return to week after week to explore the same theme. I’m not quite sure how it ended up being Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poetry, but by some odd integration of my own interests, recent readings, and students’ needs, we ended up contemplating poems from Berry’s This Day collection.
Tuesdays seem like a random day to be discussing the idea of Sabbath, but in our class last year, it was the perfect moment. Presentations were due on Tuesdays, and Tuesdays marked the end of a chapter study. A new topic was always introduced on Wednesdays, so Tuesday’s classes (after presentations, of course) seemed like a breath of fresh air. What better time to contemplate the cycle of work and rest?
My students said they appreciated Sabbath Tuesdays, but I can claim that they taught me more about faith–not the other way around–in these Sabbath moments we spent together for a quarter.
In keeping with the Tuesday tradition, I’m looking forward to sharing stories, thoughts, and art with you focused on the idea of Sabbath. My students are (and always will be) my inspiration for such posts. God’s grace shone clearly through them in my time of need.