As I start to write this it’s 9 o clock on Sunday morning, we’re all fed, nearly all dressed, the first load of washing is out to dry, we’ve tweeted and we’re watching last night’s Match of The Day…all pretty standard for a Sunday.
But check this out…
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy” Exodus 20:8-11
This is one of the commandments in the bible. Right alongside “Do not murder” and “Do not steal”. So one day out of every seven we’re told – not advised, not just given the option – we’re actually commanded to have a day of rest dedicated to God.
We need rest to protect us; to protect our bodies from wearing out as we rush about our work, families, friends & all the other stuff we do; to protect our spirit from tuning out from God’s voice, so we can still hear him through all the white noise of life’s busyness; and to protect our soul from burning out, so that we can find those still waters God promises us to renew our strength when life has made us weary.
I find it surprising that God needed the rest, after all we’re told elsewhere in the bible that God never gets tired. This suggests that the sabbath is about more than simply taking a break from things. At the end of his hard work, God looked back at what he’d done to see what he thought (He loved it!!) And it’s good for us too, to regularly take stock of what we have been given & what we’ve achieved. To enjoy it instead of just rushing onto the next thing.
It also says that no-one in the household is to work, not our servants(!), or any visitors we have, not even the mums! I like this idea that everyone is in this whole resting thing together, so it becomes a family time. Can be shared with friends of course, but we take a break from the norm and get back to what’s important in life.
But in reality how on earth are we supposed to do this. These days we all have too much going on in our lives to take a whole day every week to do nothing. Dan and I can’t just decide one day a week to absolve our responsibilities and just kick back and please ourselves. So that’s clearly not what it means, to do nothing. To not do any jobs, not go to the shops, not cook or change a nappy. So what is it? In family life how can we make it happen? I’ve taken it to mean making an effort for it to be a special day, making it different from the rest. Forcing ourselves if necessary to take a break from the go-go-go way of life we slip into most of the time.
So as a family we’re going to have Sundays as our sabbath. We’ll try to get jobs done so that we can take a break on a Sunday. We’ll not be checking facebook or twitter on our phones every hour. We’ll eat together with friends but not cook anything that’s going to take hours to prepare or clear up. We’ll have trips out instead of using the telly to entertain us at home. We’ll enjoy the good things in our life and thank God for them. We gave it a go today and although physically I’m no less tired, I’ve loved it – I feel refreshed, I’m happy and ready for the week ahead.
Right, best get on with the ironing…someone’s gotta do it!