Whew, what a week!
I need a day off!
When I feel like this I have frequently found that that day off has been very disappointing, just another chunk of wasted time rather than anything life-giving and restorative. So what is Sabbath? And what is the difference between Sabbath and just a day off?
I’m bruised by Sabbath. It happened to me in childhood. When I was just a little chap there was a time when my parents decided we should go to church. Now this was a new thing and didn’t last that long. I was a clingy little guy for reasons that had to do with Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Week 5 – the grief and loss week. Anyway, I hated going to church. I hated being taken away from my mum and being put into this cold, dank hall that smelled of old carpet. I hated it so much my brother and I conspired to create all sorts of strategies to make us so late as to render church not worth bothering with.
Sunday was Sabbath in those days. Sundays were ‘dread’ days of boredom, dampness and worst of all church. I hated the word Sabbath! Give me a day off any time.
It’s taken me a while to recover.
In that recovery I have discovered that true Sabbath, the type God meant us to have, is a beautiful opportunity to value and schedule in true restoration – restoration as distinct from just not working.
Pete Scazzero’s key word in relation to Sabbath is ‘delight’. What a delightful word. A day, or a 24-hour period, somewhere in the week, the same time each week, where there is no other priority than to do what you delight in doing or being. If you are a couple, it may be shared, or individual, or a mixture. Sleeping, walking, reading, riding, gardening, surfing, drinking, eating, painting, sewing or just blobbing; with friends, alone, active, passive, nature, city . . . and on and on – anything that, in the presence of God and his world, brings you delight.
This is more than just a day off. True Sabbath is intentional, regular, life-giving and utterly different from any other day.
The questions to ask is, did it bring me love, joy, peace, patience and so on? Was it delighting in oneself and others as God’s child? Did my eyes get opened? Was there space and time to see and hear?
Cheryl and I have made Friday our Sabbath day together but with fixing a house, it’s become ‘renovation day’ – really productive but actually not a Sabbath. This EHS process we have been sharing has awoken us to this fact. So, two weeks ago we declared Friday to be Sabbath once again – a day of delight. We both had really missed it. It’s great to have it back.