Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sabbath

I woke up this morning to the sun on my face. Always grateful for a sound night of sleep and a quiet early-morning, I snuck downstairs, turned on the coffee pot, and settled in with my Bible. I got through half a pot of coffee and the first five chapters of Acts before little people joined me at the table, looking for morning cuddles. And then the race began: cuddles, breakfast, the dishwasher, more dishes, diapers, bottles, diaper bag packing, and reminders to make beds and get dressed—it’s almost time for church.

The first time I heard anybody talk about carving out a day to rest was over ten years ago in BSF. We were studying Genesis and the teaching leader presented the idea of Sabbath observance—a completely novel concept to me at the time. Mostly, at that point in my life, my “observance” translated to taking a nap on Sunday afternoon without feeling guilty.

Today, though, I long for a Sabbath—a true day of rest. I’ve been re-reading Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Sacred Rhythms, and this desire has been stirred up like sand in a river. Sabbath observance intrigues me, but it also scares me; it feels complicated and gritty. The prospect of making room for a Sabbath rest, adding the work of this day to another, bogs me down with dread. But I can’t let it go, this desire.

In her book, Sacred Rhythms, Barton writes:

“There is something deeply spiritual about honoring the limitations of our existence as human beings—physical bodies in a world of time and space. A peace descends upon our lives when we accept what is real rather than always pushing beyond our limits. Something about being gracious and accepting and gentle with ourselves at least once a week enables us to be more gracious and accepting and gentle with others. There is a freedom that comes from being who we are in God and resting in God that eventually enables us to bring something truer to the world than all of our doing. Sabbath keeping helps us live within our limits, because on the Sabbath, in many different ways, we allow ourselves to be the creature in the presence of our Creator. We touch something more real in ourselves and others than what any of us is able to produce. We touch our very being in God.”

This resonates with me and stirs a desire in my soul to be still; to rest; to trust God.

In between lunch and kitchen clean-up and a trip to the grocery store, was time to connect as a family. Winter has finally let us out of her frigid prison, and we raced outside after lunch for a walk / bike ride. We walked a long while, taking a different path than our usual, and chatted about the weather and our gratefulness for this day and our hopes for the future. Just being together, reconnecting after a busy week, is refreshing. What would it look like to spend the day reconnecting with one another? Resting? Connecting with God? How would it impact each of us individually and as a family? What would it look like for us to take a Sabbath rest each week? I’m intrigued by the possibility.

How about you? Do you observe the sabbath? What does this look like in your life?

4 comments:

A Musing Mom said...

I am learning to observe the Sabbath.Slowly. I began in earnest about a year ago when I started reading Sabbath Keeping by Lynne M. Baab. And it's an evolving observance as I learn what keeps me from rest and what enhances my sense of rest.

I've learned that I can't read the Sunday paper before church and that Moody radio plays the worship music I wish I could hear at church. We try to observe a time of quiet Bible reading before church when we can.

I'm still learning: that whole concept of reconnecting as a family. I fail miserably there. I'm also learning that I need to follow the Jewish habit of preparing for Sabbath beforehand. Even yesterday I was noticing small tasks that couldn't be left undone, but that I could have done the night/day before.

Learning to be a Sabbath keeper is a wonderful process. Glad to hear you're in that process too.

spaghettipie said...

I haven't tried it yet, but I've been intrigued as well. I first really studied it last year when I was reading Carol Brazo's book, No Ordinary Home. To understand that Sabbath was not just about a day of rest, but about refocusing on who God is brought additional meaning to me. It's hard to entrust God with a whole day's worth of our time and believe that the things of life will be cared for. And yet when I think about the Jews, who were giving up a day to work in their fields...their livelihood, I realize just how untrusting I am. I can't wait to hear more about how you choose to implement it, and it spurs me on to continue considering how I can.

L.L. Barkat said...

I never used to do things terribly differently. But I must admit that all the talk about sabbath keeping amongst my blog friends has changed my behavior. I don't turn the computer on at all now. I nap. I play games with my kids. I make dinner the night before.

Llama Momma said...

Thank you for the comments. I'll keep you posted on my "sabbath" progression...