Recently, I spent one of the best days of my year out at Greg & Rainy’s lake house. We toured the lake on her motorized raft, soaking in the sun and savoring the deli-cious food she served. It was truly a piece of heaven on earth!
Truth be told, relaxation has never been one of my strong points. In Seminary, and with my Spiritual Director, I’ve learned the importance of “sabbath keeping,” but have to admit that over the years it’s a practice woefully neglected in my life.
That’s not a good thing, and certainly not the example I want others to follow. What’s to be done when every morning of the week we all face an urgent “to do” list demanding our attention? Well, perhaps taking a cue from God might be a good place to start (duh! pastor!)
Think about it. God creates the whole universe and world, and then takes a break. Even God wanted, even needed a day of rest, a sabbath! The whole concept of rest is so important that as part of God’s good creation the Lord singles out one day of the week, sets it apart from work days, making it a holy day of rest. sigh. Doesn’t that sound like such a good idea! Well it is, but we’re so terrible at taking ad-vantage of it that God even made it part of the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.” (Exodus 20:8-10). Maybe God was hoping that those who won’t do it for the good of it will do it to be good. Either way, we’re pretty much all delinquent in the sabbath keeping department.
But, why is it so important? Why did God make such a big deal about it?
There's an old Puritan saying, "Good Sabbaths make good Christians” and there’s truth to that. If we don’t rest we don’t bring our best selves into our work. But also, and more importantly, we need time to re-orient ourselves toward our Creator, toward God. We need a day free from work, shopping and hurry, scurrying around the world, so we can lean into our union with God. We need time to bask in Christ’s presence, to savor God’s Holy Spirit within.
Just writing about it feels a bit like a mini-sabbath. It feels like a doorway beckoning me into a practice that I’m committed to saying “yes” to God about. A holy day set apart to rest with our Holy God.
We all need such a day. I hope you join me, and maybe we can encourage each other in “keeping the sabbath,” intentionally setting aside our holy time with God!
Blessings and Peace,