I’ve been a Jesus follower almost as long as I can remember. Sunday church is as much a part of me as sleeping or eating. I’ve known that one of the Ten Commandments is
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8
Yet, I confess, I am only now beginning to understand the true practice of Sabbath.
I am so thankful for Ruth Haley Barton and her book Sacred Rhythms. I have been slowly working my way through its pages, trying to let the disciplines transform me. Last week I arrived at the chapter on Sabbath. And it rocked my world.
The day itself is set apart, devoted completely to rest, worship and delighting in God. pg 134
As I read Ruth’s reflections on the heart of Sabbath, on how our task-oriented lives require rest and returning to God, on how restorative a true adherence of Sabbath can be, I was completely hooked. I could hardly wait for my day of rest to come. (And I’m already looking forward to the next one. This is a wonderful repercussion of true Sabbath – the eager expectation of it’s rhythm in the midst of life.)
And so with the wisdom and experience offered by this soul-sister, I set out listing the activities that would nourish me, body, soul and spirit, and I was intentional to describe those tasks that I must set aside for the day.
Do whatever delights and replenishes you. p. 142
Your Daddy and I have set aside Monday as our Sabbath. Given the fullness of work and ministry, of achieving and accomplishing, of tasks and to-dos on Sundays in the life of a ministry family, we need to be intentional to carve out a different day of rest. We talked about guidelines and what desires each of us held for the day. We completed extra tasks on Sunday afternoon to help clear the clutter from the upcoming day. And before Monday even dawned, I already felt relief. I was no longer wondering if I needed to rest or “do” on Sundays. I no longer felt guilty for entering into a day of true rest and worship. A burden lifted as I let God take the busy work from my ever-scrolling thoughts, trusting He will help me see them through…later.
As I went to bed Sunday night, having intentionally decided not to set an alarm, I told God I would trust him to wake me up whenever He desired. I was impressed when I was wide-eyed at 5am and already eager to get to God. With candles lit and quietness surrounding me, I spent more time than ever alone with the Lord, gaining insight into his word and most importantly having him instruct my heart to
I spent an hour of time doing yoga as a form of worship and allowing my body to release the tension it instinctively stores. You dad and I then took a long walk together (one of my favorite things), talking about everything under the sun, including what I had uncovered in the Scriptures that morning. It was just 9am when we returned and I set out doing what I love – cooking a deliciously large brunch. We ate bacon, eggs, strawberries and cornmeal pancakes, and then retired to the sunny living room with a cup of coffee. Throughout the remainder of the Sabbath, we each did our best to follow the lead of the Spirit. Naps were taken, cookies were baked, sun was soaked in, letters to friends were written, books were read, piano was practiced, and games were played. As the sun set and darkness rolled in, I sat on the back porch with my candle lit, writing my thanks to God for the gift of this day.
I can hardly believe what I was missing out on all this time, and I’m so looking forward to continuing the intentional practice of Sabbath each week. Child, we can’t wait to spend time resting with you on this sacred day, helping you to delight in God and his good gifts to us.