Friday, July 27, 2012

Why the Sabbath has nothing to do with Sunday

I've gotten into an argument with some well meaning people over the years who just flat insist that everyone should take Sunday as the Lord's Day. And I get it. I have Bibles. I've read the 10 Commandments. I even try to keep most of them. But, I gotta say, it makes me nuts, especially when those same people are playing golf and mowing the lawn all afternoon after skipping church.  I'm not one to judge, ahem, I'm just saying.....something.

Some of the world, including clergy, has to actually work on Sundays.  If you want to go out to eat after church, be able to be treated at the emergency room, or pick up some chips and salsa for the game at the grocery store - someone has to be working.  And I would be one of those people.  And in case you think working on Sunday is some spiritual cop out, I spend some Sunday mornings and almost every Sunday night at church with one eye on my phone because I'm on call every single minute I'm there.  And if someone needs help when it's time for church?  I have to stay and help.

I digress.....sorta.

I do think keeping the Sabbath is not just a commandment, but essential to the growing life of any believer.  We need rest.  We need restorative time to leave the cares of this world and reconnect with God.  We weren't created to go a hundred miles an hour all the time.  I agree and I think God was really onto something when He said, "Come away with me to a quiet place and I will restore your soul."  I just don't think it has to be on Sunday.

I am careful to keep the Sabbath in my own life.  I understand that I operate better the rest of the time when I've put in the time with Him.  Ab-so-lute-ly.  It's not usually on the weekend though.  Sometimes it's a few hours in the morning.  More often it's an evening.  And occasionally I'll spend all night in a Sabbath mindset.  I keep the Sabbath regularly, and especially when my soul cries out for renewed connection.

Recently I had a rough day.  One of those re-think everything you can and run to vacation to get away from it all days.  I came home and collapsed on my bed before the Spirit whispered to my heart.  I've learned when He calls - answer.  So, I cancelled everything I had to do that night and rested.  Here's how the Sabbath works in my own life.

 I grab whatever books mean the most to me at that moment.  Usually, a spiritual memoir and a book of prayers.  I read and pray until I don't want to anymore.  And then I stop.
 I light lots of candles and spend time with God.  No words.  No requests.  I just show up in His presence and stay there for.....awhile.
 I hang out with my dogs because no one in this world offers me the unconditional love that they do.  No one.
 I listen to whatever songs I have on my "Contemplative" song list.  This changes sometimes, but not much.  These are my favorites right now.
I put on super comfy pajamas, put clean, crisp sheets on my bed, grab my favorite blanket and softest pillows and make tea.  I go to bed early because sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do for ourselves is take a nap.  I embrace stillness and take comfort in the quiet.  I turn my phone and my brain off.  I postpone worries for another day.  And I resist the urge to fill every moment with words and sounds.

Sometimes, an hour is plenty.  Other times it's an evening.  Once it was eight days in Puerto Rico before my soul finally said, "okay, we're good again."  The important thing is to find the Sabbath where it can be found.  It doesn't have to be my way or your way and it certainly doesn't have to be on Sunday.


Rob said...

Thank you for the reminder that "Sabbath" isn't an hour and a half on Sunday morning. Sabbath is when and where we find time to be alone with God. Your thoughts about stillness ring true with me. As one who has a pretty much constant soundtrack (if it's not music, it's those voices in my head), I forget how beautiful stillness, and yes even silence can be.

Cathy said...

Amen - thank you for your thoughts on the Sabbath.
BTW, for your contemplative playlist (and I think I need to start one of those on my Ipod) - I really like Margaret Rizza's music - if you are not familiar with her, you can find her music at and Itunes.