Husband and I have struggled to not get sucked into the day-to-day busyness of life since getting settled in our new home. The pace is consistent for our age, and maybe even this region, but we don’t like it!
I have been desperate for my Husband to rest well on the weekends, even if I don’t rest much.
Well, God showed us a better way recently.
The teaching of Sabbath rest is as old as the beginning of the world. Literally. The Creator, God, set the example for us in His resting on the 7th Day of Creation. Shabbat is what the Jews, who worship the God of the Torah, call the Sabbath. The observance of Shabbat for the Jews is FULL of rich rituals that remind them of the great things Adonai calls them to be as a people, set apart and worshiping in deed.
As Christians, Husband and I have always tried to not work one day of the week, but we didn’t see the 7th day as anything special. That was, until we were exposed to a teaching by a Pastor who had lived in Israel.
He spoke of how his family practices Shabbat beginning every Friday at sundown, and until Saturday afternoon. They include respectful aspects of Shabbat such as lighting of the candles, the Jewish songs and Hebrew prayers, the breaking of Challah bread, the Cup, and the teaching of children in the house. They also include guests whenever possible at the meal. And they follow the meals with singing and Jewish dances, then games, talking, and laughter. The following morning, he always spends elongated time in the Lord’s presence, resting, talking, praising, writing, or whatever God leads him to do. He says this weekly rest with Adonai has allowed him to break out of the pace problems our culture has.
We wanted this. Oh, how I wanted this for myself and Husband! I inquired of this Pastor for more information and he had heaps!
The bottom line for Husband and I, however, was in what the Pastor told us.
“Do whatever is right for your family, in light of where God has you. Rest belongs to God, and He is pleased you will be setting aside time to welcome Him into your weekend.”
Husband and I both agreed we needed to welcome God’s Spirit in without becoming weighted by the heaviness of works. As we have learned in Romans, it is not the Law that saves, but the One who bore our sins, Yeshua, or Jesus.
Therefore, our first Sabbat, we observed gently.
All the work ceased around dinner, but minor cleanup was allowed.
Family came over.
We shared a meal of fried chicken, in which we prayed, asking the Lord to come and be with us.
After fried chicken, we used the dinner biscuits and some grape juice to have communion.
Then we sang a few worship songs, accompanied by guitar. It was a beautiful time where each person thanked God on their own.
Then: play time! We played Wii, laughed, joked, ate store-bought cookies, and played some more. (We rocked the 3-person canoeing game!)
Husband and I went to bed smiling.
The next morning, we slept in all we could, then we leisurely got going. We each spent time with God, then we gathered to share the afternoon until it was time to head to church.
By that night, it was as if several days had gone by. Husband and I were remarking how the tone and pace felt so different, God must be blessing it.
I knew I wouldn’t know the full effect until we reached the next weekend… So, here I am. Happy Shabbat! And I can report, YES, this easy, gentle Shabbat, this welcoming God into our weekend rest, makes a huge difference! From looking forward to it all week, to planning on work ending Friday at sundown, to the precious elongated time with Abba, to the time of not striving, it. is. wonderful!
I recommend it!
Rest is a big deal for living loved.