Sabbath Beyond Sunday
In college I learned a concept that will stick with me my whole life: the concept of Sabbath. Now I know you are probably thinking, “Didn’t you know about ‘The Sabbath already? I mean isn’t that the 4th commandment and didn’t you memorize those?” Yes, I knew about ‘The Sabbath’, but when I speak of sabbath I’m speaking less of a day and more of a concept.
Let me explain:
One day in the middle of class (‘Discipleship and Prayer’) our professor told us, “For today I want you all to go off, find a place of solitude and spend an hour in silence. That is your assignment for the day. When that hour is over you are done.” So, we all grabbed out stuff and made our way out of the class room and spent the next hour in silence. On another occasion I remember my professor challenging us deeper. He challenged us to spend 12 hours in prayer, to schedule a day out of our week where we could devote 12 straight hours to prayer and fasting.
On both of these occasions I was floored by this concept of sabbath and how much it spurred me on in my relationship with God.
I feel like we all need moments like this in life. We need sabbaths beyond sunday. We need moments where life slows down and we notice things again; where we notice God, beauty, silence, and our own hearts. Maybe that means not going on the internet in the evenings; not watching TV for a day; going for a hike; listening to reflective music alone in your room; turning off your iphone and computer for the weekend; or just sitting in silence for 30 mins or an hour. Sabbath time for each person is different, but I believe it is crucial for everyones growth.
No man is a machine, we all need rest. God created us for work and for rest, not just for work. He placed this concept of sabbath into the very fabric of his people.
Here are some examples:
– God himself rested on the 7th day of creation (Genesis 2:1-3)
– God set up ‘The Sabbath’ as a day of rest each week (Exodus 31:15)
– Every 7th year Israel was to give the land rest (Leviticus 25:4)
Jesus himself saw an importance in rest. Not only did he observe the Sabbath, but he also spent multiple times to go out and pray in silence before the Father (Luke 6:12, Mark 6:46, Matt. 14:23, Luke 9:28; Matt. 26:36).
Not only is the sabbath important as a time of rest and reflection, but it is also a time for us to let go of ourselves and trust God. In the same ways that Israel had to trust God the days they did not work, and the years they did not tend their fields, so we need to trust God with all we have, and all we are. Through sabbath rest, whether on Sunday or beyond Sunday, we give ourselves to God and in return are able to see Him in his fullness, and see who we are in Him.
I’d really just encourage you right now to schedule some times of sabbath rest into your weekend and the week to follow.
Here are some helpful ideas you can use in your time of reflection:
1. Reflective Music: All the Bright Lights, Passion Conference albums, Ghosts Upon the Earth by Gungor, http://www.anewliturgy.com (just discovered this site it is really awesome), Explosions in the Sky, etc…
2. Books: ‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas A’ Kempis, ‘Indescribable’ by Louie Giglio and Mat Redman, ‘Confessions’ by Saint Augustine, ‘Pensees’ by Blaise Pascal, ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ by Brother Lawrence, ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan etc…
3. Creative Tools: Paint and Canvas, Camera, Poetry Journal, Guitar … (Sabbath time is a great time to use your creativity to worship God).
4. Take some time to read and pray through the scriptures.
5. Challenge yourself to fast something that tends to take control of you.