Do you take ‘Sabbath’ seriously? Well what does that mean, I should ask – how do you ‘take the Sabbath’, if at all?
- Some see it as a day off, and this simply means as a day of from the paid job.
- Some just don’t see it as relevant.
- Others I speak to see, it as a fast, a kind of fast from something that seems to be done on most other days. An example maybe like Stu in Busso who chooses not to blog on Sunday. Some may fast from food for the day, from TV, or …sex? But they do something that separate this day from others in the week.
- Some see it as a spiritual day. It is a day for going to a place of worship with others and doing church. They may go more than once. Some my dedicate the whole day to the Lord in the sense that they may spend extended times in prayer, reading, reflecting and attending corporate worship or having their own times of worship.
- I was a pastor in a local church for some time and Sundays was by no means a day off, it was in fact the most stressful day of my week and the one on which I worked the longest hours. So for pastors like that, are they ‘alllowed’ to pick another day and call it their Sabbath or is that not on?
- Well, come to think of it, if we were to follow tradition, the Saturday was the Sabbath was it not? What does that mean for us?
- Some people I speak to connect the Sabbath not just to themselves having a day off, but giving the earth and all that is around them a day off. What does this mean? Well to give the earth a rest, I guess you don’t ‘turn it’ and reap from it, as in garden. And they suggest that the use of vehicles which poor pollutants into the earths atmosphere would not equate to giving the earth a rest either, so they would choose to limit or use altogether a car. This day would be a ‘stay at home day’.
How do I Sabbath?
I often reflect on the scripture that suggests that the Sabbath is for me, it serves me, I don’t become the servant of the Sabbath. It does not lay down a series of rules for me to adhere to, rather it was laid down for my benefit and restoration. What ways do this best for my life and the life of my family?
We see ‘work’ as a six day seamless activity. What I mean by that is that paid work and house work are all seen as ‘work’. (depending on what you consider as ‘work’ around the house. Eg, some see gardening as work, others see it as relaxation). So lets say you have 12 hours in a day from 6am to 6pm. In that time people work, they get lunches ready, they get kids ready for school, they tidy house, they make dinner, they attend to their paid employment, they do all sorts of things considered as work. After six meals and fun and conversation and story telling and hobby and sleep all take place.
This includes Saturday. For many Saturday includes no paid work, but there are plenty of things that are still needing to be done that may be considered ‘work’. As mentioned above, gardening maybe one of them. Washing your car (although I am sure there are better things to do with water than spray it over a hunk of metal and plastic!), vacuuming the house, mopping floors, washing clothes, house cleaning, shopping, so many things just to keep the house and the lives within running smoothly.
Sunday comes…The ideal is that most of our ‘work’ has been done from Monday through Saturday and we awake to the sound of bees humming in the freshly planted flowers, the sound of birds singing in the trees and so on. We are relaxed and ready for day that is high in relationship with each other, with God and with friends and wider family. We often chose to go to a place of worship or if we don’t we would create our own worship, prayer and learning experience where ever we are. Sometimes this is at home with friends and family, or in another’s home, sometimes it may be in the bush out camping overnight to encounter more closely God’s incredible creation in a first hand way. The day may be relaxing around the home, reading or gardening or even building something in the shed that is not a ‘job’ but rather a task of relaxation and re-creation. It’s a slow day mostly, maybe a drive to someone’s house for a meal or a coffee, but mostly on average I think we are at home. The truth is that washing does get done often on a Sunday night in prep for the week ahead, and many times some house work overflows from the Saturday. In fact many times the relaxed slow feel flows backward from Sunday to Saturday, so the Sabbath is kind of ‘shared’ over the weekend. I do have a kind of ideal in my head, but it does not scream too loudly at me, just loud enough to tell me that I am ‘working’ and not sabbathing on those special days. I love some of the ideas Randy Frazee puts forward in his book “Making Room For Life”, I have taken hold of many of these and I guess some of this has come out through these thoughts.
Have a day, of re-creation, it’s gold!