We live in a world that has forgotten how to sabbath. Busyness has become a way of life for all of us, in fact if someone is not busy we wonder what is wrong with them. How in a world that is connected and active 24/7 do we begin to practice sabbath and is it even that important?
We live our lives at a pace that is waging war on our soul and we often feel the ache. Over connectedness, feeling dull, perpetually tired, continually chasing after the next thing. Accumulation and progression have become the mantras of our age we long for the next phone, piece of clothing, car, home, job, relationship etc. and often we don't even know why.
What does it look like to practice the God given art of rest in our lives? To say for a 24 hour period every week that God I trust that you want the best for me and I want to slow down that I might hear you and know you. I wonder, perhaps if we even think this is possible.
Listen to our series on Soul care through sabbath and enjoy doing the practises below to try and enter in a bit of what Jesus might be saying when he offers 'come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest' - Matthew 11
Listen to our series on Soul care - a life with sabbath
If you enjoyed these more can be found on our sermons page on sabbath and soul care.
For Jesus one of the key practices he had was the sabbath and making time for rest. In fact it predates Jesus, it predates Moses this was something ordained by God to Adam. Now rest is not to simply sleep it is way more powerful and way more life giving than that and has the potential to create something in us that simply work and being busy can't do. When ancient Rabbis were questioned 'Why didn't God created anything on the 7th day?' they responded with 'Oh he did, he just created something in time and not space.'
Look at these practices to see how you might learn the way of sabbath.
Mark out a period for sabbath:
Many of us fail to do sabbath not because we don't value rest but because we let everything else become a louder voice that shouts at us. All of a sudden extra work, shopping, social media, or whatever becomes a really loud voice.
Sabbath needs some planning to make it useful. We try and make sure all our tasks are completed before we embark on Sabbath that we might more fully engage in some rest.
Try and mark out a 24 hour period in your week where you have a different rhythm. Where life is not about what you do or achieve but who you turn to and how you rest.
Think of ways to start and end your sabbath:
It can be really helpful to try and have symbolic ways of entering and exiting this period. These things can help us slow down our minds and hearts and souls to enter this period as well as try and help us exit this period in a may restful place that we might bring that rest, and non-anxious presence in to the rest of our week. You could try the following:
- A prayer
- Lighting candles to focus yourself
- Read a Bible passage to yourself or your family
- Go to church and worship (if that fits with your routine for Sabbath)
- Pray and invite the Holy Spirit in to the day, ask Him to speak and give rest
- Go for a walk or find a quiet place
- Share a meal with friends or family
Spend an entire day in rest & worship
What things during this day would give you real rest and bring nourishment to you. It is helpful to make a distinction between recreation and restoration and in this season to begin transitioning from simply entertainment activities to things that will restore you and nourish you.
Typically these twelve practices have been helpful for the sabbath rest:
Lighting the candles
Blessing the children
Eating a meal
Worshipping with your Community
Making love (if you’re married)
Spending time alone with God
Spending time with family and friends