Letting Your Lil Light Shine | day 6: shabbat

In the Christian college I attended, our Friday evening religious programs (vespers) started with the symbolic tradition of lighting the Sabbath candle. While a student lit a large 3-wick candle sitting in the front of the church, the chaplain talked about "Shabbat," the Hebrew word for Sabbath which more literally means stop. Stop work. Stop stress. Stop worry. Stop focusing on things that aren't important.

Sabbath is a weekly opportunity to rest from, or stop, all those things that distract us from God. Stop the spinning merry-go-round that is our lives, and refocus.

Refocus on God. Refocus on His Word and where He's leading us. Refocus on whatever is true, holy and pure. Sabbath is an opportunity to rest our minds, commune with God and rejuvenate our spirits for whatever lies ahead in the week to come.

God created the heavens and the earth for six days, and on the seventh day, He stopped and rested. Not because our great Creator and Ruler of all needed rest, but because He knew we needed rest and communion with Him. {Genesis 2:2-3}

He reminded us this rest and communion with Him was still important when He wrote it in stone. {Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15}

He reminded us again of the importance of rest and communion with Him, New Testament-style, when Jesus lived on this Earth and, as our perfect example, He kept the Sabbath. {Matthew 12:1-12}

These are three bold actions that tell me the Sabbath matters to God, and taking a day to stop is important.

In the midst of making Sabbath work for us, because "man wasn't made for the Sabbath" {Mark 2:27} I think as Christians we've missed the rejuvenating spirit of truly stopping. Of really giving up everything we want for what God would have us do in this weekly time of stopping. {Isaiah 58:13-14}

In response to many Christians' lax view of the Sabbath, Lauren Winner writes...
>> There is something, in the Jewish Sabbath that is absent from most Christian Sundays: a true cessation from the rhythms of work and world, a time wholly set apart, and, perhaps above all, a sense that the point of Shabbat, the orientation of Shabbat, is toward God. <<

In her book, Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren talks about the Jewish traditions she was raised in and now misses as a Christian convert. It is incredibly insightful to learn from these spiritual practices that help bring religion into daily life.

In her chapter Shabbat/Sabbath, she shares another author's description of Sabbath preparation. The mad dash to the store and preparing food to last through Saturday sunset. Juggling pre-Friday sunset showers and cleaning house, before attempting to settle into "a mood of quietness."

Lauren shares these words from author Nan Fink...
>> Shabbat is like nothing else. Time as we know it does not exist for these twenty-four hours, and the worries of the week soon fall away. A feeling of joy appears. <<

I asked Lorilee from Loving Simple Living how her family makes Sabbath special.

This is Lorilee's response...

lorilee + family
>> Lately I have been understanding the idea of Sabbath as a 'mandatory vacation'.  I think God made us and he clearly knew we couldn't do the 24/7 schedule that we would try to keep up.  We make Sabbath special by having a fun family evening (usually with a fun family meal) on Friday night and then just 'vacation' for the day on Sabbath.  Since we are self-employed our work goes on all hours of the day every other day of the week so we look forward to taking a break from all of it. <<