I want to explore this Sabbath Rest -- I have never studied the idea of keeping the Sabbath, and apart from attending church, "Sabbath-keeping" has noI want to explore this Sabbath Rest -- I have never studied the idea of keeping the Sabbath, and apart from attending church, "Sabbath-keeping" has not been part of my spiritual experience.
A great benefit of Sabbath keeping is that we learn to let God take care of us—not by becoming passive and lazy, but in the freedom of giving up our feeble attempts to be God in our own lives.
To cease working on the Sabbath means to quit laboring at anything that is work. Activity that is enjoyable and freeing and not undertaken for the purpose of accomplishment (see the next chapter) qualifies as acceptable for Sabbath time. -- so then, creating/planning lesson ideas is enjoyable and freeing and therefore fine to do on Sabbath.
First of all, we must note that the day is “a Sabbath to the LORD”; in other words, it is a ceasing in order to honor the covenant God.
Oh, this is SO true and too easily ignored: "We need to learn again the psalmists’ delight in the law as God’s instruction for true blessing in our lives. (See, for example, Psalms 1, 19, and 119.)" Too often, I / we seek blessings in experiences rather than in obedience to God's Word.
I want to pray this way as I begin each Sabbath (at sunset on Saturday? at bedtime?): I pray an extended prayer beginning with these Jewish phrases: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast hallowed us by His Commandments and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath light!”13 The Jews focus especially on creation in their Kiddush rituals,14 so I usually spend most of the time thanking God for all his creations in the week that is past and for the Joy15 of his creating now an opportunity to cease from its labors. I pray about the ways that I will spend the next day and ask that these activities will draw me closer to God and fill me more fully with a sense of his presence in my life. This is also a special time to pray for the Church and for pastors, musicians, and others who contribute to the worship services taking place throughout the world on Sundays. This prayer creates in me a global perspective and provides a weekly preparation so that I can be more ready to worship and less distracted by any thoughts or worries of work.
Good advice: I commit all the things I do for my work into the Lord’s hands during the Kiddush prayer at bedtime. If anxiety still continues to plague me after my Sabbath observance has begun, I try to write down my concerns as quickly as possible and as thoroughly as necessary in order to remove the worry from my mind. Another especially important practice to help me cease worrying is to focus on relationships—particularly my relationship with God—during my Sabbath observance. Instead of status seeking, the day promotes friendship building. In the love of the Christian community we cease being anxious.
The Sabbath is not a running away from problems, but the opportunity to receive grace to face them.
When we order our lives around the focus of our relation-ship with God by letting our Sabbath day be the highlight of our week, toward which everything moves and from which everything comes, then the security of God’s presence on that day will pervade the week.
Six days of our week are dominated by the motif of buying and selling, but the Sabbath is a day of giving and ceasing our striving for things. As we keep the Sabbath, instead of our possessing things or space, time possesses us.
Agreed: Increasingly in our culture, the Ten Commandments do not provide the moral foundation for society. The commandment to worship God and him only was the first to be lost, but now, to a tragic extent, our culture no longer respects the commands to honor parents and not to commit adultery. Many people wonder how these outdated commandments can matter in a twentieth-century world. In fact, the commandments as a clear basis for morality are desperately needed more than ever in our fragmented, disrespectful, violent, covetous society. It seems to me that to recover the command to keep the Sabbath might help our Christian communities to restore the other commandments. Certainly if we honor one day as a day set apart to concentrate on the holiness of God, our priorities will be restored, and we will again seek God’s will concerning our relationships with parents, with sexual partners, and with possessions.
We already set ourselves apart from the surrounding culture when we choose not to work in any way on the Sabbath. We further extricate ourselves from society’s values if we give up the need for accomplishment and abstain from worry and anxiety about our position. We choose deliberately to be different from our culture if we give up our striving to be God and let Yahweh be God instead.
Hmmm: God’s softness and the ways in which his people can extend it to others were important concepts for me to grasp that day because I don’t usually think of myself as soft. I usually have to be the strong one in charge, the one with answers, the teacher. But for the last few years I’ve been gradually discovering and learning to concentrate on how I can be a healer, a source of softness.
keeping the Sabbath ushers us into the recognition that all days derive their meaning from the Sabbath...a day especially set aside for worship teaches us to carry the spirit of worship into our work.
ALTHOUGH PHYSICAL REST is the first dimension that readily comes to mind when we think of Sabbath rest, we can’t begin immediately with that aspect because it is really impossible to rest our bodies thoroughly if our spirits are ill at ease.
Martin Luther stressed the importance of spiritual rest in his “Treatise on Good Works” as follows: The spiritual rest which God especially intends in this commandment [the covenant command to keep the Sabbath holy] is that we not only cease from our labor and trade but much more—that we let God alone work in us and that in all our powers do we do nothing of our own.
Matitiahu Tsevat, a scholar of the Hebrew Scriptures, insists that the basic meaning of the biblical Sabbath is an “acceptance of the sovereignty of God.”
One of the necessary tools for spiritual resting is the Word of God...For Christians, the entire canon of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures teaches us about God’s covenant love—as we both privately read and meditate upon it in our personal Sabbath devotions and publicly hear it proclaimed and preached upon in our corporate worship (an essential aspect of Sabbath keeping)
Heschel’s discussion of menuha continues as follows: To the biblical mind menuha is the same as happiness and stillness, as peace and harmony.... It is the state in which there is no strife and no fighting, no fear and no distrust. The essence of good life is menuha. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters” (the waters of menuhot). In later times menuha became a synonym for the life in the world to come, for eternal life. Six evenings a week we pray: “Guard our going out and our coming in”; on the Sabbath evening we pray instead: “Embrace us with a tent of Thy peace.”
Wow: God’s enfolding rest and peace descended upon me once in an astonishing measure. In the middle of writing my dissertation, I was feeling horribly overwhelmed by it all. One afternoon one of my favorite pieces of music, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Variations on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, came on the radio just when I’d reached a point of exhaustion and despair. I ceased working, settled into my beanbag chair (so dilapidated that it enfolds me), and listened to the piece undisturbed. During those weeks I had also been studying W. Bingham Hunter’s The God Who Hears in my quiet time and trying to relate to God more as “Abba.”47 As the lush harmonies of the strings playing Vaughan Williams’ music moved me to the emotional breaking point, the thought of God as a tender father holding me on his lap suddenly flooded my imagination. I felt the security of being enfolded, yet the gentleness of a grasp not too tight. I was not controlled, but set free; understood, yet not so vulnerable that I could be crushed. I was held, and, in the love of that embrace, I wept in relief. It was a rest more deep than any other I have ever known, and since that time I have come closest to experiencing such rest again on Sabbath days. On days set apart to focus on who God is, his gifts of rest and peace are most likely to be experienced. Indeed, the possibility for that first enfolding moment was created by a Sabbath ceasing from work and resting in Vaughan Williams’ exquisite melodies and harmonies, which ushered me into the very presence of God himself. The greatest result of Sabbath resting is the opportunity to know the presence of God, no matter what our present circumstances might be.
When we live for our Sabbaths, when they are the climax of our weeks, we know a healthy anticipation of the ultimate rest, the time when Jesus will come to take us home.
According to Lerman’s theory, failing to rest after six days of steady work will lead to insomnia or sleepiness, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, irritability, organ stress, and other increasingly serious physical and mental symptoms. Lerman suggests that this need for rest every seventh day is rooted in the fact that the human biological clock operates on a 25-hour cycle.49 Because organized society prevents us from getting up one hour later each day to follow our natural internal clock, our body demands the time to “sleep in” or rest every so often to recover from the forced 24-hour time cycle that is too short. Lerman insists that we must “cease labor” once every seven days and rest our bodies for longer periods than on other days in order to catch up on our cycle of time. He also adds that the biblical Sabbath commandment includes the ideas of both cessation of labor and refreshment.
When so much of life is unsure and dependent upon circumstances beyond our control, the sureness of one day in every seven to set everything aside gives us emotional stability.
the invisible Truth of his love is larger than the visible reality of this world’s pain.