Sabbath Follow Up
At the beginning of August, I invited all of us to begin a Sabbath challenge. During the month of August, we were committing to designate one day as our Sabbath day. We were then going to use that day as a day to engage in activities that help us rest and restore. Now that we have had a month to try out this emphasis on our Sabbath practice, I want us to take some time and ponder a few questions:
How did designating a specific day go? Is that a day I will keep or do I need to try a different day?
What practices did I find to be restorative and life-giving? How did they help me connect with God? What did they help me learn about my relationship with God?
How can I continue to make them a priority in my life?
Using these questions, we can continue to refine our Sabbath observing as we go through our life. Observing the Sabbath, much like the rest of our lives, can be a thing that changes over time. When our life circumstances change, we have to adjust various parts of our life or routine to make sure our priorities still fit in. The Sabbath practice is no different. It is one of the ways we have been given to strengthen our relationship with God. It is a gift, an opportunity, so much more than a demand or rigorous code. We see in Mark 2:23-28,
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
The Sabbath was not meant to be a law that dominated life, but rather a symbol of the God given relationship between work and rest. It never should have become something to trap people in a certain way of life; it is a gift of God. It is, however, an opportunity to take time away from the constant of work and focus on our relationship with God. It helps us to be restored. When your life changes, continue to seek God and find how you can adapt the ways you observe and celebrate the Sabbath. If something does not work, keep trying until you find something that does. I pray that you will continue to discover and refine the methods you use to practice Sabbath.