Accidental Sabbath

Honoring the Sabbath can mean a lot of different things. Taking the Sabbath seriously requires us modern lay Christians to evaluate how we spend our time and energy, and will most likely will mean a drastic shift in how we fill those hours set aside for the Sabbath. We aren’t wired for holy rest, and we don’t know what worship means apart from a congregational setting. Even our vacations usually translate into a whole lot of work.

Some aspects of practicing the Sabbath are intricate, heavy even, and require thoughtful intentionality. We have to ask ourselves questions. What does it mean to “not work” today? What does worship look like for me, on a personal level, outside of the sanctuary and away from the musicians? How do I distinguish between rest and recreation? Do I need to distinguish between them in order to honor the Sabbath? What role does technology play in my Sabbath practice?

Then we have to figure out how all of those answers translate into practices. For me, this has looked like crock pot meals assembled on Saturday night. Cleaning like a fiend on Saturday so there were no chores left for Sunday when I invited people over to eat and hang out. Refusing to turn on the television or laptop, even when all I really wanted was to spend some time writing or watching a really good story rolled out before me. It took months before the work of preparing for the Sabbath felt balanced out by the rest of practicing the Sabbath. And I’ve fallen out of those habits in recent years.

Yesterday I experienced the opposite of all of this, kind of an accidental Sabbath. It was easy, it was simple, and there was no real preparation or forethought put into any of it.

  • I spent an hour teaching a class that I believe makes a real and significant difference in the spiritual lives of some of the people who attend. As depleted and insecure and inadequate as I feel every time a class meeting is over, the encouragement and feedback I received filled up many of those little potholes in my soul.
  • I was embraced by friends, real friends, people with whom I share affection and love and life. I’ve never felt so connected to so many people in my faith community. I’m blown away by how amazing all of these people are, and that they care for me so well.
  • I was immersed into a few minutes of beautiful music, powerful words about  myself and God, and the participation in worship happening all around the world. Yesterday I felt that larger connection to God’s people around the world. I also felt the intimate presence of His Spirit deep within, tugging at strings tied too tightly around my heart until they loosened their grip and healing could wash over the bruises. I was both caught up in something larger, and seen at my smallest.
  • I heard truth. I was reminded that this Jesus I follow has forever been drawing people close to Himself, brushing off of us all the labels and categories we use to measure ourselves and the worth of others. Man, His grace is scandalous. Offensive. I’m so grateful for that.
  • I enjoyed quiet, retreating at home to recharge after four hours of what felt like constant interaction. I have a cozy and warm house, comfortable clothes, money for food, and access to great stories all of which energize me.
  • A friend cajoled me into heading to a yoga class. I forgot how much I love that class. I’m never more aware of my body’s capability, its limitations, its beauty and grace, and its utter lack of balance as I am in that class. All of those things seem so symbolic, and those last few minutes of silence serve as an invitation for my soul to settle into that knowledge. To accept what is without rushing ahead to how to change it.

God met me over and over again yesterday. Every part of me was at rest by the time my eyes slid shut. Today I’m a little tired, a little sore, a little melancholy. All good things. All reminders that the Sabbath is a time to connect with the deepest realities of life. And that sometime Jesus will invite you into Sabbath in sneaky ways.

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1 Comment

  1. Catherine said,

    February 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I love this! Gives me hope in my journey of creating a regular Sabbath for myself. 🙂


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