Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - February 19, 2020

I was in my early 20s when I first heard any kind of preaching that suggested Sabbath was something we should do as Christians. The woman who was preaching didn’t seem to think it needed to be an absolution of duties for the day, but rather a day that was dedicated to self-care. When she shared about her sabbath practices she mentioned things like reading a book, going out to eat, and getting a pedicure. If that was sabbath, I was totally on board. I don’t know how soon I started, but it was within a few weeks. Only once I declared that Saturday was my Sabbath, some of my friends saw it as a free day so that we could go do things. We set up meals and movies and other things. All of which I enjoyed, but I quickly realized that even though I liked doing those things, putting them on my calendar gave me yet another obligation. Something I had to be ready for and do. Something that interrupted whatever else it was I was choosing to do that day. So I changed the rules, creating stricter boundaries, and refusing to schedule anything for Sabbath. No appointments. No dates. Then on my Sabbath when I got up (naturally, not to an alarm), I’d ask myself, “What do I want to do today?” I might want to watch TV. I might want to work in the yard. I might want to cook. I might want to go out to eat with a friend. But I wouldn’t arrange those things until the day of, and if my waiting meant I missed certain opportunities with friends, I had to live with that.


My sabbath rule early on was, “I won’t do anything I have to do.” If I had to do laundry, or read a book, or write a paper for a class, it was automatically off-limits until the next day. As I established and honored that rule, I found I had more energy in the days that followed. I wanted to do the reading and writing and chores on my non-sabbath days. Despite the incessant demands on my time, if I honored my sabbath, I was restored in strength, creativity, and stamina and was much more fruitful the following week.


Over the years, the rules of sabbath have had to change. I obviously had to change diapers once our kids came along. And I’ve had to learn to navigate personal time to recharge my introverted side, and social time to enjoy my family or friends. Nevertheless, Sabbath is a key practice in my life. When I neglect it, I pay for it—emotionally and spiritually. Fridays are my sabbath day (which means I generally won’t schedule an appointment or meeting unless it’s an emergency, and when I’m dutiful, I won’t return an email or a phone call unless it’s urgent).


Sabbath time is important for all of us, no matter how neglected it is in our society. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to think about practicing sabbath for yourself. Set aside a day (or a half-day to start) and ask yourself what you want to do that day. What will recharge and refill your spirit so you are ready for what comes after your sabbath?


Shabbat Shalom. (Sabbath peace)

Pastor Debbie




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