Friday, 04 January 2013
By Karl Johnson at A Radical Journey
Looks as though New Years resolutions are still on my mind.
The first portion of this reading that really stuck out to me is from Genesis 2:3:So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work he had done in creation.
Well, if we're talking about things I did not do so well in the past year, "remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy" is certainly one of them.
While the Pharisees had it wrong, and the Sabbath is not about a laundry list of what you can and cannot do on a given day, that doesn't negate it's importance, and God's command to remember it.
In Genesis God works for six days, and on the seventh He rests. But why? Surely the Lord Almighty doesn't need to rest. It's not as though he's all tuckered out from a hard week's work, wanting nothing but warm slippers and a cup of tea while sitting on the couch. While he might enjoy those things, it's not necessary for him, he doesn't need to recover from a difficult week. So then why rest if he doesn't need to?
Because we need to. We are not God. We cannot be endlessly productive, working ourselves into a stupor of exhaustion barely fended off by the triple-shot lattes. Our bodies, minds and spirits cannot function in a state of perpetual motion. We need rest. We need rejuvenation. We need to be refreshed by the Holy Spirit. This type of rest doesn't just happen, it is not spontaneous. To truly receive the rest and rejuvenation we need, it must be intentional. We must meaningfully set aside a time, each week, to truly rest. There's a reason God tells us to remember, and it's not just that we are extremely forgetful creatures.
Now, this type of rest isn't a techno-entertainment fueled coma either. It's not a day of television, movies, facebook, pinterest, video games... These are just amusements. These activities may be enjoyable to us, but they are not life giving, which is what I believe the point of the Sabbath is: to participate in those activities that are life-giving. When your Sabbath is over, do you feel refreshed? Now, that doesn't mean you won't be tired, perhaps a life giving activity for you is hiking, or snowboarding, but when you are done, you feel revitalized.
I believe spending time with God is a very important part of the Sabbath, time in prayer and in the Word. But I don't think this is time to have a goal in mind, other than just being in the presence of the Lord. When you spend time with a friend, if there's a purpose or goal in mind, such as fixing something, or going shopping, you end the time together feeling much less refreshed than if you and your friend just rested in each other's presence. So maybe on the Sabbath you shouldn't be reading the Word to get through your reading plan, but just to immerse yourself in God's love letter. Maybe prayer on the Sabbath shouldn't be about asking, but about listening and talking, just being with God.
So, where does this leave me? I need a Sabbath in my life. It should be obvious, since it's kind of a commandment, but apparently I've needed more convincing.
I find myself going from week to week without taking any real time out for activities that are life-giving for me. I haven't touched my guitar in weeks. I can't tell you the last time I drew or painted. And it's been longer than I would care to say since I've spent time in creation, hiking, or just taking a walk. And as I've said all along, I continue to struggle to make time for God.
I tell myself it's my schedule, that working 2+ jobs with varying schedules makes it nearly impossible to pick a day to set aside each week. It's all excuses. Who says it has to be the same day? Who says it even has to be a whole day? Would I like a full day? Of course! But maybe that's not possible at this time in my life. However, that doesn't mean I can't set aside half a day. I have the time, I just tend to fill it with other things. Why? Because I'm not being intentional.
That really is the word.
So, intentional is what I will be. I will be intentional to set aside at least half a day every week for my Sabbath. To ignore the post that needs writing, the dishes that need washing, the vacuuming that needs doing, the lesson plans that need writing, and just focus on rest and rejuvenation. To spend time in God's presence. To paint. To hike. To read. To write songs. To create. To do those things that are life-giving. Next week, it's looking like Tuesday.
I'm curious to see how the rest of the week goes while keeping a Sabbath.
Following God's commands tend to be beneficial.
I'll let you know how it goes.Do you keep a Sabbath? What are the things you do on your Sabbath that are life-giving? What caught your attention in the reading?