Sabbath is a time of rest, reflection, and can be translated as “making holy”. This summer I took a one month period of “sabbatical”. (See the same root word there?) I return rested, and excited to share with you in ministry. I plan to share with you a few of my own experiences of disconnecting in order to better connect. This counter-intuitive thought is part of the gift of a sabbath time. And whether it is a day, a week, a month or even a moment finding a time to experience sabbath does not only provide rest, but it enriches your activities that come before and after the sabbath.
Sabbath was part of the oral tradition from the very beginning. Shabbat, as it was known, was shared through story before it was written down. The stories of Genesis are not meant to be seen as historical points in time, as much as ways we understand our lives in relationship to God, and this was and is important. It becomes one of the ten commandments in Exodus, but in today’s verse it is lived out by God. It is one of the seven days of creation itself! It’s not just a law of Moses, it is a vital spiritual practice.
Do you take sabbath seriously? I grew up in the South and when I was a child they still had laws that kept all non-essential stores closed on sabbath. Grocery stores were open, but I vividly remember the blue ribbon that was placed on the aisles that we were not allowed to shop in. We can debate the positives and negatives of a state law lifting up a biblical law, but I’d like instead to focus a bit more on the “why” of the holiness of sabbath. After all, I’m not sure disallowing someone from buying a light bulb on the sabbath was ever God’s intention.
Biblically, it seems that God loved creating. Each day “God saw that it was good.” And yet, after all of that good stuff was created, God rested. In the same way we can fall in love with our productivity and work, but if we don’t find time to rest, we can lose the blessing of our labor.