Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve published a blog post. But when I actually look, I only took two weeks off from the blog. And with the busy-ness of the Lenten season, Easter, and then going on vacation, it’s hardly surprising that writing found itself on the wayside. I realized as I was feeling stressed that I didn’t have posts prepared or scheduled that sabbath isn’t just for Sunday.
Sabbath where you can find it
As a pastor, Sundays are often work days for me. I get to remember the sabbath day through leading worship and sharing in the fellowship and discipleship with God’s people. But, even filled with worship and made for God, it is still work for me. And Exodus 20:10 says not to work at all on the sabbath.
And although my situation may be a bit different than yours, being that I am a pastor. Many people are called to work on Sundays, or find that caring for their home, families, or careers is an important part of their weekly schedule. And so even if you join us in worship, in observing the sabbath by worshiping God, maybe you still need to stop at the grocery store on your way home.
I invite you to think about your Sundays and your time. How are you keeping the day holy? How are you giving it to God? Are there ways you could be doing that more?
And for the times when schedule, calling, and life make a Sunday sabbath difficult, where can we find that time of rest, of peace, of relationship with God?
Simply put: where we can.
Sometimes it’s about finding sabbath in moments. For me it might be at the end of my Sunday as I’m saying night time prayers with my family.
Sometimes it’s allowing yourself a break. Like when you feel that a blog post should definitely go up every week. Sometimes it’s that break, that breather, that rest, that allows the Spirit to flow. For me it’s been allowing myself the sabbath away from non-sermon writing, and I’m glad to be back.
Sometimes it’s taking one big rest at a time. For instance, I just got back from vacation with my family. And honestly it was the the most restful, most fulfilling, and most spiritually encouraging trip I’ve taken. Maybe it was just the magic of Hawaii. But I think it was also that we went just for us. We didn’t visit any one we know, even though we miss our friends and family. We didn’t have conferences scheduled. I had turned off notifications on my phone. It was time together. And in that time of rest, we wondered at God’s creation around us. As we rested, I felt my prayer life open up a little more. And when we returned I realized once again just how important sabbath can be.
Is this a good time to say “Because God says so”? I mean, when my parents said that sort of thing to me as a child/teenager it didn’t go over well. But it is true. God commands us to remember the sabbath, to keep it holy, to take a day off and rest, recharge, and focus back on God.
And apart from the command, I myself can witness how important it is for care of ourselves. Never having a break takes a toll on us in so many ways. Creating time and space to refocus on God helps to give us the strength and the energy and the hope we need for our continued work.
Why sabbath? Because the power of sabbath is the gift God gives us of permission to stop, rest, and refocus.
What are ways you remember the sabbath day? How do you focus on God during your week? Where can you find sabbath rest in your life?