The Commandment I Love to Hate…


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”:

The Sabbath.

“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.

colored macaroon cookies

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!




18 responses »

  1. Wendie,

    You are so gifted. Thank you for the encouraging and uplifting message regarding the Sabbath. I agree that there are many different ways/approaches in honoring the Sabbath. I will hold this entry close to heart come this Sunday.

    • Oh Jackie! You are so kind, but it really is God doing the work, sister! I miss seeing you on Thursdsays and your wisdom and encouragement. I pray all is well with you and I cannot wait to see you again soon! Girls night?!?! 😉

  2. Amen to the Sabbath rest!

    Coming together in the simple things of life and leaving the business of life behind to refocus, recenter and relax is what I look forward to all week!

    I am also blessed to be able to spend the summer away in a restful location! This summer I am going to look for the miraculous everyday! (Yes, I know it is only February! A girl has got to have dreams!)

    • Doodler – you lucky duck! Summer in restful paradise sounds like a great place to PRACTICE ETERNITY! Dream away – it will be here before you know it! In the meantime, light those candles and take a breath, as I know you will! It IS yours; a beautiful, scared, miraculous gift from Him. Love you!

  3. Dear Wendie, you are absolutely fabulous.  I so enjoy reading your blogs.  You are better at getting the message across than most of the ministers I know (and I know about 200 of them).  I am not able to comment at the end of your blog.  Don’t know why.   Love, Aunt Sharon

  4. I remember living in France where honoring the Sabbath was a secular tradition, derived, I’m sure, from France’s Cathlic heritage. Some of us would head to church, where (and I still giggle about this) my Grandma would elbow people out of her way so she could be the first to get communion from the priest: no other minister would do (certainly not women!) and she definitely wasn’t going to drink from the cup after someone else (she also studiously avoided eye contact during the exchange of Peace… I guess the Pope didn’t consult her her about Vatican II!) Then we’d head to the bakery for our fresh baguette and a beautiful splurge of a dessert then spend the afternoon on a leisurely meal with family followed by an outing to the forests or mountains for a change of scenery. Every. Single. Weekend. Stores weren’t open (except, thankfully, the bakery!), businesses were closed… the whole country just took a break. I could feel it in the air. Friends would mock me for being “truly American” because I often studied on Sunday evenings. I wonder if it’s still like that 13 years later… I kept that Sabbath tradition (as a secular one) for many years and realize now that my American need to accomplish something has crept back in to the daylight hours. Ack! Thanks, Wendie, for reminding me how much this means to me. I look forward to rediscovering this, except this time with a little bit more faith to back it up.

  5. Reblogged this on Stringing Pearls with Wendie and commented:

    This blog post from earlier this year was one of the most read the one on which we had loads of comments! I thought we could take a moment to revisit what “honoring the Sabbath” means! A link within the body of this post will take you to Part Two of the series: “The Sabbath Manifesto”, which talks about 10 simple ways to practice peace on the Sabbath – whatever day it is for you and however you choose to celebrate it! Enjoy…Shalom!!! Wendie

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