Oh, friends. Funny story. Well, actually, not funny. It may have involved a very whiny version of myself, to be honest. I have been playing around with a post for you about Sabbath rest. A couple of days ago, after studying for about an hour and a half and really deciding what I wanted to say, my Sabbath post was done. Boom. Ready to add a picture, I was a little impatient as the pictures loaded rather slowly. So, I decided to refresh that window. Well, it did warn me. It said anything unsaved may be lost. But, alas, I was thinking an unsaved picture not an unsaved article. I don’t have to finish this story, do I? We all know what happened next. 75% of my post vanished into thin air.
Now, I like to mull stuff around in my mind and think things over before I just write. I want to convey my thoughts in a way that makes sense, for I can be quite a scatterbrain. So, I just let. it. go. I couldn’t go back and recreate anything. I couldn’t try to remember what I wanted to say. What I already said. I just stopped. And I went to bed.
So, this time I’m going to take a different approach. Instead of a studious, scripture filled idea of the spiritual discipline of Sabbath rest, I am going to speak to you from the heart. I’m going to start a conversation. That means that this could very well be part one of a little conversation about the Sabbath.
What is Sabbath, anyway? I mean, I was raised in the church, went to seminary, and am a pastor’s wife. And, I think I can safely say that I have heard very little preached/taught/spoken about this spiritual discipline in our lives. I mean, as the fourth commandment, yes. But, how to live it out, what it looks like in our homes, not so much.
Just one generation ago, slowing down on Sundays wasn’t even really a choice. Things were actually closed. Like, no grocery shopping on Sunday. No open malls, no extra errands. Nothing. This was when my parents were little kids. When they did things like “Sunday Drives.” Just because. Now, we are competing with work, phones, tvs, computers, and more. We are a generation trying to squeeze in more, more, more all the while draining ourselves to the point of exhaustion. And, when we reach that point, we are no good to anyone.
But, God had it set up differently. When he created the world, he looked around, saw that it was good, and rested. He enjoyed his creation. He relished in the fruits of his labor. I propose that we are to do the same. We also need to set aside one day a week to enjoy God’s creation. We need to spend a day in REST and WORSHIP. That, essentially, is what practicing Sabbath rest is. Rest and Worship. How each individual or each family does it in practice, I’m sure will look different. It may mean unplugging from everything, no tv, a sink full of dirty dishes, and a time to read, write, and journal. It might start with corporate worship in the morning, a huge nap (in pajamas), and a wonderful from scratch family dinner. It may mean saying no to any and all commitments.
Sabbath should be intentional and personal. Some of my best and hardest moments have been moments set aside for Sabbath. You see, when you take out all of the distraction and unplug; when you have no timeline and nothing scheduled and you are left alone to truly rest and worship, that’s when you are left alone with your joy or pain or grief or sorrow or love or fear. . .you get it. It’s you and the Lord. You get the pleasure of solitude. (another spiritual discipline, by the way) The joy of being in his presence with nothing in the way. And those are often hard and beautiful moments. Hard working through the things that you face during the rest of the week, and beautiful when you take a step back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Sabbath isn’t something that we can do to earn our salvation. If you are in Christ, that has been done for you. Instead it’s a chance to rest in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
So, what is your Sabbath ritual? Do you have one? Will you start one? Share with us what it looks like in your life and be a part of the conversation.
Here’s to Sabbath!