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Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  936 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
It has become our standard greeting: " I'm so busy." Now, in a book that can heal our harried lives, the author of the spiritual classic How, Then, Shall We Live? shows us how to create a special time of rest, delight, and renewal--a refuge for our souls.
Our relentless emphasis on success and productivity has become a form of violence, Muller says. We have lost the necess
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 6th 1999 by Bantam
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I've returned to this book annually since it was first published, and always go away from it with something new. What worried or chafed before, a few years later, turned out to make sense to me in new circumstances. What seemed most profound, lived out over a few years, seemed everyday common sense. That's the thing about good books of spiritual practice: you meet them in different ways at different times in your life and they still have something to teach you, something to surprise you, somethi ...more
Nov 08, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book: my first introduction to Wayne Muller. In it, he explores all kinds of elements of our lives today and how we can find greater satisfaction -- delight! -- and greater peace within the madness of the world. What I love is that Wayne is both an incredible writer and has very thoughtful, well-researched chapters, each of which ends with a practical exercise to try in your life. Very helpful combination of reflection and action.
Ryan Jankowski
Oct 23, 2014 Ryan Jankowski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a gift. I had never heard of the author, but was of the impression that this was a Christian presentation of Sabbath rest. That is not the case. This book most definitely was not written from a Christian perspective. The author is Unitarian. It Mr. Muller's syncretistic effort to unify all traditions of 'rest' and place them neatly under the title of 'sabbath' (linguistic revisionism, but hey, if it sells books).

For Christians, Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath (Mat 12.8) and he is
Mar 10, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
Wayne Muller’s thesis is that Sabbath is good. He explores the fundamental need for rest, its origin in creation and its placement in major world religions. There is a fundamental rhythmicity to nature, Muller contends, and that is no accident. We are created to need rest; therefore Sabbath is created for us. As this is a natural truth, Muller finds much support from other faith traditions, with similar rest practices.

Muller rests heavily on the creation account for his assertion t
Brad Feld
Apr 07, 2013 Brad Feld rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had Digital Sabbath #3 yesterday. I turned off my phone and computer Friday at sundown and didn't turn them back on until Sunday morning. I'm starting to enjoy the pattern and had a lot of relief yesterday from the complete disconnect. We had dinner at our house with friends Friday night, Amy and I did some stuff in the morning together, I went for a 9 mile run, took a nap in the afternoon, and we had dinner last night with friends and then watched some comedy on tv afterwards. My brain was le ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those life-changing books. I read it 2 years ago and keep coming back to it. It has a simple message: we are not machines, and we cannot thrive in our constantly "on" culture. We have been designed to delight in rhythm and rest. What I love about this book is has Judeo-Christian roots, but is accessible to folks who don't adhere to a particular faith. There are mini essays (3-5 pages) developing a particular facet of Sabbath, followed by 1st person descriptions of a particular Sabbath pra ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it
Though I'm not religious, the idea of Sabbath really resonates with me. I may not set aside regular time 'off' (not just talking about weekends here), but I certainly enjoy my down time. On one hand, I may feel as if I'm just being lazy--I should be doing 'something', but this book was a lovely reminder that this down time is a necessity. To reboot, relax, unplug, play (with others, music, in nature...), to let it be.

Though the book is written by a minister and discusses spiritual traditions, it
Jul 04, 2008 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to John by: Olin Knudsen
Rating: C+

Worth the read. Helps me to realize that to "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8) requires intentionality. The demands of our lives create our forgetfulness. A time and a way of resting from the world and toward our Creator is not only a commandment, but needed for the restoration and renewal of our soul.

"Henri Nouwen was a dear friend of mine, a brother, priest, and mentor. He was also a fiercely asture observer of our worried, overfilled lives. Henri insisted tha
Alumine Andrew
Aug 25, 2014 Alumine Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourite
‘Finding rest, renewal and delight in our busy lives’ is how Muller describes the contents of this book. It appealed to me as I am busy and involved in loads of stuff. Trying to carve out space and peace in a week let alone a day seems like a good thing so I read it. And I was really impressed by the style and the content. Muller describes the ethos of taking time out to rest and reflect and how it is necessary in all aspects of life, not just the spiritual.

The chapters are short, with specific
Angela Forfia
Sep 16, 2015 Angela Forfia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-thought
I started this book while on a yoga retreat and I finished in a jury assembly "quiet"
room. Oddly, both Sabbath experiences of the sort that Wayne Muller explores in this book. This is not a legalistic dreary Sabbath but a mindful, joyful one. Ultimately, this book is about giving yourself permission to rest--to exhale, pray, meditate, walk, experience joy--and the deep importance of Sabbath practices for your health, well-being, happiness, and spiritual development. I was especially drawn to his
I was a little surprised by what I found in this book.
On one hand, there was beautiful, practical advice about "finding rest, renewal, and delight in our busy lives." The book was true to its subtitle.
On the other hand, the main title may be misleading to readers. "Sabbath" suggests a Biblical, Judeo-Christian approach to rest. The author may come from a Catholic background, but he is quite syncretistic in his approach to spirituality. Quotations from various religions and philosophies are wove
Catherine Gillespie
I wanted to love Wayne Muller’s Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives. I love the concept of sabbath, and who doesn’t want more “rest, renewal, and delight” in her busy life? I read the book in bits and pieces, finding a few things here and there. I disagreed with Muller on lots of theological points, thought several of his metaphors were dreadful, and found the vast majority of his suggestions to be silly, the sorts of things that earnest people who are taking themselves ...more
Lacey Louwagie
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Item: Read a Book About Religion

It's always hard for me to put into words why I give a book five stars. This book was simply very restful and enjoyable to read. It is all about the importance of bringing designated times of "rest" back into our lives, and protecting that time as just as important as time when we are being "productive." It's full of stories about how other people have managed to do this, as well as ideas for how to create time of ritualized rest if
Kellie Ewilson
Apr 25, 2015 Kellie Ewilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it's a great book for workaholics or consume-aholics as it lays out a solid argument for reasons why people need rest while also providing practical suggestions on how to rest spiritually. I studied this book with others in a house church setting, which helped illuminate passages that I may have otherwise glossed over.
Of the many suggestions offered in the book, the lectio devina was surprisingly effective. I found a phrase from scripture and repeated it like a mantra several times thro
Oct 10, 2014 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the religious connotations of its title, Sabbath addresses a general audience. It expands the traditional meaning of Sabbath to include days, hours, even moments of respite from work and stress and points to their therapeutic as well as spiritual value. The universal need for rest as part of the rhythm of life is nothing new in the biological sciences, of course; but Muller does a remarkable job of helping us recognize its inadequacy in our own lives. Even when we recognize it, we often ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short thoughts on sabbath rest. Each chapter emphasizes an aspect of sabbath, and how sabbath very often is so clearly counter-cultural. It is definitely meant to be read over time. To emphasize this fact, Muller includes activities at the conclusion of each chapter for the reader to practice, so that time and patience are indeed given to the learning to sabbath.

Some may be put off by Muller's use of quotes and illustrations from a variety of religious backgrounds (Chris
Antoinette Verdone
This book really will teach you why and how to rest. At the end of each chapter is a exercise that helps you understand how to practically apply the ideas, which I find very helpful. This book really changed the way I though!
Artemisia Hunt
Mar 27, 2016 Artemisia Hunt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-a-copy
Sabbath is an old religious tradition that has truly modern, and even secular meaning, in a world that is far too busy and accomplishment-oriented as are the hallmarks of 21st century living. Wayne Muller approaches Sabbath from a spiritual, reverential way, but makes it clear that Sabbath has a broader meaning when seen as a state of mind, and a way of being in the world that takes into account the need to rest and find times of periodic silence in our busy lives. This kind of Sabbath is all ab ...more
Jessie Pannell
Jun 23, 2016 Jessie Pannell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
Wow. I wanted to feel more uplifted when I turned the last page of this beautifully written book. And I did. And then I cried because I didn't. I want all my loved ones to read this book to understand what we're missing out on in our lives. Muller's writing is generous, keen and subtle, yet powerful. I really enjoyed his anecdotes and the poems he included. He also writes inclusively, even though He stands upon his Christian faith. Read this book and then give me a call and we can talk over how ...more
Jul 29, 2016 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up while on retreat, hoping for more motivation to put aside Sundays as a true day apart from my normal schedule of activities. This was a beautiful book with plenty of information about why taking a sabbath day is important as well as providing ideas for what to actually DO with such a day. I'm going to re-read and take specific notes, so that I can try out some of these ideas in the fall once school starts again and I'm tempted to use Sunday as a day to catch up on school wo ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for today's world, and don't be misled by the title, it is not a sectarian view of the Sabbath, but rather a broadly inclusive view of Sabbath as a day of rest in multiple religious cultures, and a practice that even makes sense in a secular setting. This is a book for all who are too busy to slow down. It is a reminder that if you don't slow down you will eventually burn out and be forced to slow down. It's central message is that by taking Sabbath rest you will have a richer, fu ...more
Tom Phillips
Jul 27, 2014 Tom Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My wife and I both read this book, a few years after we began our "Sabbath" practice. For us, it is making Sunday a day without hard manual labor, shopping, etc. We go to church most Sundays, and we don't always hold true to the practice, but we have found it very helpful in living - taking a day off, to read, walk, nap, sit in the sunlight. We don't have to do anything. What a good experience it has been for us and we have been mostly faithful to it for about eight years now. This book was a he ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would have more of a Biblical basis for rest, but rather it felt more spiritual/universalist in its approach. That's not to say that as Christians we can't learn from other religions/cultures regarding rest, but it didn't have the solid Biblical foundation I thought it might have. When scripture was used, it was rarely, if ever, cited in the text and often times I felt was taken out of context and/or was used poorly to make the authors point. While there were some good though ...more
Tim Beck
Jun 10, 2010 Tim Beck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
The book is filled with delicate teaching on the Biblical and Spiritual principle of Sabbath. My understanding of Sabbath has exploded. I knew so little... i appreciated it so little.

Wayne Muller has done a masterful job - through extensive study, the use of personal reflection and stories to give more than an overview of Sabbath. Muller gives everything. There are so many practical examples on how to live out a regular time of Sabbath, including ideas for how to start and how to keep it going.
May 19, 2009 Juli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantasic book on the idea that Sabbath is not ONLY a lack of work but it is "the presence of something that arises when we consecrate a period of time to listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing, or true." Muller offers a great dialogue on what it means to take a Sabbath and how that can look different than the traditional view of 'a 24-hour period of time without work'. He offers a new perspective on Sabbath moments, breaths, meals, walks, or even longer periods of time like months ...more
Sally Loftis
Nov 30, 2012 Sally Loftis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"All life requires a rhythm of rest...We have lost this essential rhythm. Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something - anything - is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give ...more
Nov 10, 2013 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this book is pure love for me! The simple and yet poetic way that Muller writes. The way he views an ancient practice in conversation with very contemporary 21st century struggles. They way he creates a giant, spacious invitation to re-imagine everything I ever thought about Sabbath.

Between working full time and going to school and trying to change the focus of my work, I'm not at a moment when I could take a full day's Sabbath. But Muller invites us into a broader definition of
May 12, 2013 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed this book. The world is so busy, our communities have a million things to offer for "what to do today." We can barely find time to connect with our families face to face. The first thing many of us think of when we hear the word Sabbath is "day of worship" and yes, that is part of it for many, but not for all. Just the fact that we make time to STOP, to stop, no matter where we are in our busyness and demand that we take a break - alone, with our families, worship as community or me ...more
Melissa Fischer
Aug 27, 2016 Melissa Fischer rated it it was amazing
I found this book so helpful and encouraging. Reading it was like receiving an invitation to rest, with ideas of where and how to find that rest. I'm reading it in preparation for teaching a Sunday school class on Sabbath and will be incorporating many thoughts and suggestions into the class. I also found it personally helpful and amazingly timely for dealing with my sadness about my dog's illness, as Muller writes about waiting and being comfortable with not having all the answers.
Ronald Price
Jan 13, 2015 Ronald Price rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I really enjoy this book. It talks about the importance of rest. It reminds me of the importance of getting away from our work for a period of time to rejuvenate the mind, body, and/or Spirit.... Being a person who loves to work and to stay busy, I read this book repeatedly to keep myself in balance. For any borderline workaholics, stress-filled individuals, or even those who feel that something is missing in life, this may be a book for you. It has richly blessed my life...
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“When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moonrises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.” 17 likes
“Like a path through the forest, Sabbath creates a marker for ourselves so, if we are lost, we can find our way back to our center."
— Wayne Muller (Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives)”
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