For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. - Exodus 20:11
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. - Hebrews 4:9
This week we’ve learned three simple, daily spiritual practices to help us gradually grow our relationship with God: The Welcome Prayer, Scripture Memorization, and The Daily Examine. Today we add a weekly practice: the Sabbath.
Since the beginning of time, believers have regularly taken a day apart to rest and be renewed. This is very different from the American “day off” which is often filled with grocery shopping, laundry and TV. The purpose of the Sabbath is to rest, not to get things done and not to be entertained. Another word for it might be recreation, as in, you are being re-created.
Jesus was very clear that we’re not supposed to tie ourselves into knots about the Sabbath, so this exercise is not some new law for you to follow legalistically. This is an invitation to slow down your life, usually for a period of 24 hours. The Jews started the Sabbath at sundown on Friday and ended at Sundown on Saturday. For us, there’s a lot of flexibility. And for you, well, you may want to start with something shorter than a 24 hour Sabbath.
Consider these things to NOT do:
Turn off your phone for as much of the time as possible.
Take a break from social media and email, and definitely from work.
Try to limit chores.
The fewer the screens the better!
Consider these things to do:
Plan on taking an extended time in quiet. Bring a bible and a journal, and maybe get some worship music set up. Consider bringing a book or a pillow for a nap, too :-) Spend that extended time (an hour? two? maybe three?) reading, praying, pondering, writing, walking, looking at something beautiful.
Think through what is renewing for you - and spend an extended time doing that. Maybe it’s getting coffee with a friend, exploring a new recipe, painting, hiking, or playing a board game.
If you’re single plan on a get together with friends. If you have a significant other, plan on spending some time with them. In either case, they might be able to join in with some of your other Sabbath activities.
Connect with your community in worship. Sunday morning worship is a great piece of any Sabbath, and consider adding in coffee beforehand or lunch afterwards with someone you like or someone you met.
Sleep (preferably with no alarm to wake you up!).