Sunday, November 8, 2009

Days 38 & 39

I've seldom heard sermons or read books extolling the benefits of rest and keeping a Sabbath. I think many Christians see it as a unnecessary, unproductive and an outdated practice. Perhaps they see it as a religious law without any new testament value. Regardless of why, I think few Christians experience Sabbath and I am beginning to see it as necessary to our holistic wellness in our Christian walk.

Most of our lives are completely full. I know mine is even with trying to downsize outside commitments. I have a husband who is an associate pastor and we own a successful business that keeps us both busy. Our little girls are 4 and 7 and have school, occupational therapy, speech therapy, riding therapy and Salem has violin and occasionally girl scouts. We have a dog named Nina and a house to care for and the list could go on an on. And that's after I downsized our commitments.

This time last year we literally ran from therapy appointment to therapy appointment after school 4 days one week and 5 days the alternating week. That was all combined with a busy business and I was the coordinator of a large MOPS group. It was too much. This year it's much more relaxed. Busy but more relaxed.

Before this weekend I had only vaguely considered the possibility of needing to observe a Sabbath. Deuteronomy 5:12 says to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. Yet it seems SO hard to fulfill this in our busy lives or to completely understand it's importance. We are tied to the busyness of our lives by the technology that should make our lives easier. We have one more email or text to answer, one more phone call return, or we live on social sites such as Facebook. None of these things in and of themselves is wrong or devastating. But they can be when they rule our lives.

Some might contend that observing the Sabbath was a religious law and isn't necessary for the Christians of today. I'd have to agree with the first part of that. The bondage to that law passed away when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But the healing and restoration that is the result of observing a Sabbath is still valid. Amazing even. We may not follow the literal law of the Old Testament but the healing effects of observing a Sabbath rest remain.

Hebrews 4:9 says: There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.

God rested, Jesus rested, why should we not rest? I am not saying we should religiously or legalistically observe a Sabbath. I don't think it needs to be a specific day or that we shouldn't care for our families or help those in need on our Sabbath. It's more about slowing down, embracing rest and narrowing our focus.

I recently read somewhere that most Christians have a hard time focusing on observing a Sabbath day and perhaps they could seek Sabbath moments instead. Even a moment has the potential to remind us and restore to us our true identity in Christ which is not given to us by our daily work, but by the fact that we are children of the living God.

Sabbath moments - intriguing. I actually like the idea and to a degree I think that's what is happening to me on this journey of solitude. But I also believe I need a literal rest. What about you?

Today's Reflection: Thank you Lord for bringing me to Sabbath today. I found such comfort in rest today. While I didn't sleep I did relax. My mind felt freed from the responsibilities on my to do list. When I think back - there was nothing that couldn't wait. I do need Sabbath moments to deliver me from toxic moments that busyness brings me to each day, but I think I need a Sabbath rest to find restoration from the busyness of this world. Help me teach my children the importance of rest and downtime and to see You at work in it all. Today You taught me how simple and easy it was to lie down on the couch and rest while the girls and Brian were outside. It was so simple. It felt so right and I felt so refreshed and refueled and ready to do what I had to do when I got up even though I had felt sick most of the day. Thank You Lord for bathing me in Your sweet presence today. I am honored to feel Your presence and Your love at work in my life.

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