Sabbath is Counter-Cultural
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. These are the first words that open the story of Scripture. God creates light, sky, land, plants, sun, animals and humans.
The poetic story of Genesis tells of this creation in six days. It tells of how aver six days, God is overwhelmingly delighted and pleased with creation, deeply in love with the birds and people and grass and water. So on the seventh day God rests.
Author Dorothy Bass writes that in resOng "God declares as fully possible just how very good creation is. Resting, God takes pleasure in what has been made; God has no regrets, no need to go on to create a still better world or creature more wonderful than the man and woman. In the day of rest, God's free love toward humanity takes form as time shared with them."
This first Sabbath rest is an act of love, a choice to show love by spending quality time together. We should not be terribly surprised therefore that the Sabbath is one of the most important and often talked about commandments of God. God wants the people of God to rest, to nourish our souls with uninterrupted quality time spent with God.
Now this might not seem like good news for those of us who love productivity and check lists, for those of us who keep our plates so full with activities and responsibilities that spending one day a week resting sounds as likely as spending one day a week teaching pigs to fly.
We might respond to God's request saying we just don't have that kind of time! The world moves faster now!
And still to all this, God says: rest with me. You are not so important and in control that the world cannot get along without your work for one day in seven.
Sabbath is a relinquishing of pride, a relinquishing of the tempting siren song of overworked and over packed schedules. Our place and importance in the world are not determined by how much we do, volunteer for, or how many people depend on us. Instead they are determined by God's love for us. A love that invites us to set aside our business and spend some quality time with God.
What would it look like for you to join God in Sabbath this week? Sabbath is not a time when you sit still all day and try not to be bored, all that is relinquished is work and productivity, not fun or joy.
Instead, Sabbath is a day of worship, prayer, family time, long walks outside, naps, and good books. It is a time to spend with God and those you love, a time spent with the things that nourish your soul and breathe life into your heart.
Author Tony Jones writes, "Sabbath is yet another spiritual practice that at first blush seems to be about giving things up (one day a week to ‘get things done'), but in the end becomes a gift that is beyond price. In other words, it becomes an addition (of love, joy, hope, peace, etc.) rather than a subtraction."
Sabbath is counter-cultural. It is counter to many of our patterns of life. But it is life-giving and soul-filling.
How can you practice Sabbath this month? What day, half-day, or even couple of hours can you intentionally set aside for Sabbath?
Blessings for the Journey!