Okay, I don’t HATE any commandment so what I really should’ve titled this is: “The Commandment I Can’t Seem to Get My Arms Around”. I mean, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” – I get. No problem. I can handle that. “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” – bingo, no probs. “Thou Shalt Not Covet” – clear enough (well, I get it and all, but having said that, I gotta admit to being pretty darn drooly over my neighbor’s new front door…!).
But “Thou Shall Honor The Sabbath”? Are you kidding me? In what world was He living when He thought up THAT one?! Did He not have kids in sports? Did He not understand the benefits and organizational value of grocery shopping on Sunday for the week? Did He not get that we just don’t have time to take a break anymore?
Did He not know that taking a rest sometimes leads to us falling behind in this world – somehow, someway?
YES. He knew. All along, He knew. And He had a better plan for us in mind than the “Hamster Wheel of Life”:
“Shabbat (the Sabbath) is not merely a day of rest, it is a rehearsal, within earthly time, for the age beyond time when humanity, guided by the call of God, moves beyond strife, evil, and oppression, to create a world of harmony, respecting the integrity of creation as God’s work, and the human person as God’s image. Once a week, God invites us to practice eternity.” Rabbi Jonathan Sachs.
In Hebrew, a beautiful saying exists: “Shabbat Shalom”. It means something along the lines of, “May your Sabbath be filled with perfect peace – the way peace ought to be experienced.”
Oh my. OH MY!!!! I want to practice perfect peace and eternity – don’t you?!
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I recently took a trip to Florida with my daughter to see my parents. I had already been researching the topic of The Sabbath before we left, as a possible topic for a retreat at which I’m speaking this fall. So, I decided to make an intention on our trip to TRY and practice some of the 10 things I’ve recently learned about Sabbath observance (I’ll talk more about what those 10 things are later this week here on the blog!)
Here’s the first thing I discovered: it’s hard.
It’s hard to step off our ever-accelerating escalator filled with the highs, lows, and business of daily life. It’s hard to intentionally listen to the people you love the most, instead of taking them for granted. It’s hard to truly unplug from technology so you can pay attention to the beauty of spontaneity unfolding around you. It’s hard to watch everyone else’s life catapult forward when you pull back on the reins.
Yes. It’s hard. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not without massive reward.
Because, here’s what ELSE I discovered: my mom is super funny; I love doing puzzles; my dad DOES have good advice; my daughter is as graceful as a sweet dolphin when she swims; I miss my husband when I’m not with him; dog hair on the clothes in my suitcase makes me smile; the sun feels great on bare skin; wine tastes especially good when you are in the pool; buckets of peel and eat shrimp create giggles despite the mess; sleeping past 8:00am can cure whatever ails you; and…I am BEYOND blessed.
So. What was the cost of all that? Well, I missed a scheduled blog post (we all survived, and probably didn’t even notice!); Ella missed two days of school (my guess is that she will still go to college); my Lupus acted up just a tad from the sun (but I look super healthy with a little tan); I slept through my morning devotional time (and gained perspective in restfulness); I gained 2 pounds (and do not regret a single, delicious ounce of it); I didn’t make or create a single thing (yet I’m filled with one thousand ideas right now).
My message isn’t to say you need to go to Florida to experience the Sabbath, because you truly don’t need to go anywhere! The message is to ask you to unplug from whatever you do as your “norm”, in order to experience the mundane as miraculous.
Maybe it IS a change of scenery to get you there. Or maybe it’s a change of mindset. Maybe it’s an intention to make TODAY different from the 6 days before it – an honest intent to honor rest. Whatever “it” is, it is entirely between you and God. It’s possible. It’s necessary. It’s a COMMANDMENT.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8, ERV.
God created that commandment because He knew we needed it. He modeled it for us when He, Himself, “rested on the 7th day”. Not because HE needed it; but because, like the best of all parents, He knew WE’D need someone to show us how it’s done.
So, where do we go from here? I’m so glad you asked! Click here for the 10 things you can do to celebrate the Sabbath, or as I like to call it: The Sabbath Manifesto, Part Deux! I’ll share with you some cool and completely applicable ways to begin YOUR journey in exploring what celebrating The Sabbath means for you!