Respecting Sabbath is an important part of our faith journey. I started on this journey not long ago. You can read my first blog post about Protecting Sabbath. I am still learning and as a family we are working to figure it out - what we are discovering is that it is a necessity.
In Exodus we see the first example of Sabbath rest - this is not a new idea. Sabbath is a lesson that was taught through Moses, we can read this in Exodus 31:12-14:
And the Lord said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you.
The first example we see in Exodus is the gathering of manna, They were to gather twice as much on the 6th day so that the 7th day would be respected as holy Sabbath. This began the pattern of work, rest and trust.
6 days of work, a day of rest and trusting that the Lord will provide what we need. Our bodies are designed to work hard, to take time to rest and to trust in the truth of His word.
This is something that we are working to achieve as a family and as it says in Exodus "throughout your generations" which means that we must model this for our children.
After church one Sunday we all came home to change into our comfy clothes and settle in for the day - but my husband asks us to get in the vehicle because we are going for a drive. Even though I had a lot on my "to do" list and was ready with about 20 excuses of why I couldn't possibly take the time to go for a drive - I knew I just had to choose to be excited about his idea and get in the vehicle. Our teen daughters were not so sure but jumped in the back seat and with my camera in hand we started out.
We live in a beautiful Province, Saskatchewan just takes your breath away. The Prince Albert National Park is only an hour's drive from our home. I will never forget as we rounded the corner into the main town site - we looked out the window to see a bald eagle flying over the lake right beside us - it was like we were flying with it. We pulled over and stepped out to look over the cliff to the lake below - the wind whistling through the trees, the waves lapping the shore and the quiet peace brought tears to my eyes. The "to do" list will always be there, the laundry continues to pile up, there are always meals to prepare, groceries to buy and put away but our daughters are now teenagers. We only have a few years of this family unit as we know it left to enjoy.
We need to model Sabbath rest to our daughters and our souls desperately need it.
This elk that we found at Prince Albert National Park has Sabbath rest figured out. Sit back and enjoy the sunset - life passes by too quickly.
How will your family choose Sabbath rest?
I wasn't sure if I was going to title this post "Protecting Sabbath" or "Taking back Sabbath". I have been thinking about what Sabbath means for a while now, and this is a little of what I have been learning:
Sabbath is a time set apart for rest and worship. With today's busy lifestyles - this seems like mission impossible.
A month ago my family went on a last minute trip out to British Columbia to spend some time with family. 2 days of driving, 4 days of visiting/doing touristy things and 2 days of driving home. During our drive time my husband I were talking about all the work we had to do to prepare to leave for a week and then all the work we had to catch up on when we returned. It was so overwhelming that it made it feel like it wasn't a holiday at all. While we are thankful for a little time away, the idea of the piles of work makes us never want to take a holiday again.
I feel the same way when I think about Sabbath, my day of rest, my time to worship. Weekends seem so short, I have so much to do - how will I be prepared for Monday if I don't run around like a mad woman for two days straight?
What if I prepared for Sabbath, the same way that I prepare for a vacation. What if I make Sabbath sacred?
Sabbath isn't about rules. It's about relationship. I am taking away from this relationship if I am running my daughters to sports practice or pushing my shopping cart around the grocery store. I am stealing from this relationship instead of building into it.
My youngest went to a birthday sleepover party from Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. This bothered me - it bothered my daughter as well. Which I am thankful for. We contacted the family to see if it could be changed, I understand the reasoning as to why it was planned this way, but I enjoy my family being together on Sundays. I really prayed for wisdom as to how to handle this situation. I didn't want to say, "You have to go to Church!" That is making it legalistic and we all know that teens love that! (you can read my blog post on "Why young people are leaving the church") I can honestly say that I was surprised with what came out of my mouth - I told my daughter that it is important to spend time with our Church family.
All the definitions and explanations I found in my research on Sabbath were all about rest and worship. But I want to add a third ingredient: family.
This has totally changed my perspective on how I view going to church each Sunday and setting apart a dedicated day of rest. When I walk into the church doors on Sunday I now see it as a family reunion - spending time worshiping with family. This has freed to me to worship in a place I didn't know existed before. I know there are several people that I could go to if I need a hug or someone to pray with. The Carleton's are generally the last ones to leave because we visit until the bitter end, (I need to start packing snacks so that we aren't beyond the "I have to eat now!" phase.) I especially love the week when it is Soup on Sunday because we can visit and eat!
Our church is a part of our family. Families are dysfunctional, families members hurt each other, families learn and grow together.
My life is not perfect - I do not look for perfection - I want to learn and grow.
My Sabbath is now a time of rest, worship and family. It needs to be protected. My family deserves this. I need to be an example of this to our daughters. It is something that I am learning and it needs discipline.
I made a screen saver for my cell phone (on picmonkey) so when I turn on the home screen it is a picture that says Sabbath across it. This is my reminder to put my phone down and build into what is important and sacred for this one day.
What does Sabbath look like for you?