In the first episode of our new Sunday message series for Lent called, Bare Necessities: Getting Back To Basics, we explored the latest Swedish “it” word sweeping the globe. Lagum (“l-a-w-g-u-m”), as it’s known in nordic countries, essentially is a virtue of moderation and balance.
Like the Goldilocks principle of “not too little, not too much, but just right,” lagum can apply to many areas of life, according to a recent BBC article by Lola Åkerström. In food, it means moderation. In social settings, it suggests appropriateness. In interior décor, less is more. In health and wellbeing, lagum plays out as mindfulness. In lifestyle choices, it represents sustainability.
In every setting, however, lagum tells us when enough is enough. In fact, the premise of our new series is that all we really need to be happy and live healthy in this life are the bare necessities that God already gives us in his great love. But there is one area of life that most of us do get enough of, and that is sleep.
The following story is told by Terry Hershey in his series of articles on honoring what he calls “sanctuary space” and “sabbath moments” of rest:
Every day after school, the son of a well-known Rabbi would enter his house, place his backpack on the dining room table, leave the house through the back door and head into the woods behind the house.
At first, the Rabbi gave little thought to his son’s ritual. Until it continued, for days, and then for weeks. Every day, out into the woods for almost a half hour.
The Rabbi grew concerned. “My son,” he asked one day. “I notice that every day you leave our home to spend time in the woods. What is it you are doing there?”
“Oh papa,” the son replied. “There is no need to worry. I go into the woods to pray. It is in the woods that I can talk to God.”
“Oh,” the Rabbi said, clearly relieved. “But you should know that God is the same everywhere.”
“Yes, papa. I know that God is the same everywhere,” the son replied. “But, I am not.”
As Hershey puts it, the little boy knew instinctively that there is a special place for rest, renewal, creativity, meditation, quiet reflection, and sanctuary. Unlike the equally important realm of activity, productivity, and achievement, there is a rightful place where beauty, poetry, and dreams are born.
In both the gospel reading and the passage from the Old Testament, sleep plays a big part. Just before Jesus is transfigured before their eyes, the disciples were overcome by sleep. In the story from Genesis, Abram also fell into a deep sleep-like state just before God made a whole new covenant with him that would change the course of history forever.
Listen to our message this weekend to learn more about how spending time in the realm of sabbath rest and sacred sleep may be an inspired pathway to a new beginning in your life.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson