It is Saturday again, Sabbath begins this evening! I thought I would share a couple of reflections from last week, and thoughts to plant in your head for this weekend.

First, I loved my Sabbath last weekend. Was it perfect? No. But then, life never is, so that is just fine! I realized that if you are going to start a Sabbath way of life, it is much easier to start in the summer, when the days are longer and sunset is not until about 8:00pm! Then there is much more prep time to get everything clean and ready, so that was very nice.

We began our Sabbath earlier than sunset, with our very thrown-together family dinner, a little later than usual since we’d all be snacking a lot earlier in the day. We lit a candle at dinner to symbolize the presence of Jesus, and my husband and I read a short liturgy. I think I will rewrite that liturgy one of these days, to make it a bit more appropriate for my age 6 and under kids… I will post it when I do, both the original and my modified version.

I explained briefly to my kids what Sabbath is all about. It went something like this:

“We will be focusing on God and family for this whole next day. Sabbath is part of how God created the world, when he rested on the seventh day, and he wants us to rest, too. We light this candle as a symbol of God’s presence (they loved that because candles are very special and rare in our home!). There are a few things we won’t be doing on Sabbath. We won’t be having any screen time (frown… they know for us this means TV, movies, iPad, games on phones, and for mom and dad, the computers and internet). But we also won’t be cleaning (BIG smiles). And we will do things as a family, like take walks, play games, maybe go to the park, and we will end with dinner tomorrow.”

They seemed to be pretty on board, and really didn’t complain about the lack of screen time when it meant they had more of mom and dad’s undivided attention. (Though actually, we did let them watch Veggie Tales while my husband and I took naps on Sunday afternoon! That show has Biblical values, right? It worked for us anyway.)

We did take a walk, we did go to the park, and we did play Parcheesi together (my six-year-old’s new favorite board game). I went to bed early, because really, what else was there to do? It was Sabbath! It was wonderful.

Though Sunday morning church does involves some “work” for me, as Associate Pastor, my work is God’s work, and worship, and this week it was leading communion. After church we baked a pan of enchiladas I made the day before (totally worth it to prepare ahead!). I guess it wasn’t totally orthodox because my oven worked. Oh well. Sabbath was made for me, not me for a legalistic idea of Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

As I reflect on last week’s Sabbath and look forward to this week’s, I know it will be a bit different because we have a potluck after church (which I will have to “work”) and baptisms afterward (yippee!), then a gathering in the evening with the moms group I am in, and I have to go buy something for that which I promised I would bring and will not have time to get today. So it won’t be a perfect Sabbath, but I will keep it in my heart, and we will light our candle and say our liturgy and prayers and focus on God and family and ceasing from normal work and commerce as much as possible.

As you prepare to shut out the noise and distractions to really keep Sabbath in your heart, think about what Marva Dawn says in Keeping the Sabbath Wholly:

“Sabbath ceasing [means] to cease not only from work itself, but also from the need to accomplish and be productive, from the worry and tension that accompany our modern criterion of efficiency, from our efforts to be in control of our lives as if we were God, from our possessiveness and our enculturation, and finally, from the hum-drum and meaninglessness that result when life is pursued without the Lord at the center of it all.”