At my church, we have been calling this month our Sabbath month, as we take a rest from some of the normal activities of the church. I had the opportunity to preach at my church last Sunday (I often preach the last week of the month), and I knew I wanted to speak on what Sabbath really is all about. My husband grew up in a church that kept a fairly strict Sabbath, and I became interested in trying to do that with our family a few years ago. I even did some study on the topic, as part of one of my seminary classes. Honestly, I am not very good at Sabbath. But I believe it is a goal worth pursuing.

I wonder how much most people understand about what a true Sabbath means. (Probably not much.) We have busy lives, always much to do, hard to find time for God…Sometimes I think about wanting more rest. But I think, Rest? I am too busy to rest! I have three kids! And a husband! And a part-time job! And a house to clean and meals to cook and errands to run and meetings to attend and people to see and talk to…

Any of this sound familiar?

And we, as good New Testament Christians, look at Sabbath as one of those Old Testament things that Jesus said we don’t need to follow anymore. That is what we think he said, anyway… But is that really what he meant?

Growing up, my dad was a pastor, and so Sunday mornings were a big time for us, but the afternoon was usually a pretty restful time, as I remember it. In college I kept up with the afternoon nap ritual, but I was always busy (and I actually studied in college). Besides church, Sunday wasn’t particularly set-apart as different from most days.

Though as a kid, Sabbath could be a kind of boring time for a kid, my husband has good impressions of that time being focused on family and gathering with the Christian community. We try to keep Sunday as a family day, but that often still involves running errands together, maybe eating out, and often doing something to get ready for an activity that evening or in the coming week. A family day, yes, but not always quality time, and not a true Sabbath.

I am drawn to Sabbath and the idea of time specifically set apart just for God and family, having cooking, cleaning and housework done in advance in order to truly rest, and spending the time outdoors or in activities together, instead of running those errands after church, etc.  The difficulties are getting the prep done so I feel I can truly relax Sunday instead of feeling burdened by the looming pile of what awaits.

So… here’s my introduction. I have decided to make this a recurring thread in my blog, sharing with you what I have learned about Sabbath keeping, and writing about my challenges (and hopefully, successes) in making this part of my life.

Care to join me?