“…Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).
The breaking of bread
with others is common and
mystical at once.
Sabbath. Each is unique. Each brings celebration and peace. Rest. It is God’s gift to us. It arrives regularly and without fanfare. It comes to soothe and restore. He set the day apart for me so that I am able to function with greater potential on every other day that comes after Saturday. It took me a lot of years to recognize the gift of Sabbath.
Now my husband and I set the day apart and often share Erev Shabbat or the Sabbath evening meal in the company of dear friends. After the ritual of blessings, the evening grows richer with each bite of food and word of conversation. After the meal, sometimes we circle up for prayer, and each guest shares the issues of life from her heart. Some tears fall, a few fears flee, and hearts overflow with renewed perspective and rekindled hope.
Even though keeping the seventh day holy is the fourth commandment, no one forces me to unload the weight of the week–it is therapy. I choose this rest because it is good for my soul and body. Although at first when I began to discipline myself in the practice, I took Sabbath as a bitter pill — something I needed but hated to swallow. Now that I know the medicine does a body good, I joyously lose the day of work and relish the gain of peace of mind and restoration of the body.
I approach Sabbath with light-hearted giddiness and sweet anticipation — by tearing off a big chunk of rest for my soul and body and letting its medicine go deep, soothing the week’s stress and weariness. I’ll meet the new week with a full tank and a rested brow.
For more study…
Read Exodus 20:8-11, Isaiah 58:13, Matthew 5:17-19
Work it into daily life…
You will find a simple Sabbath guide and explanation in my book “Sabbath: A Gift of Time.” Plan a meal in your home accordingly and invite a few friends. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can order in if it is easier. You will enjoy sharing a meal and fellowship as Sabbath begins. More importantly, put your feet up the next day. Rest without guilt. Halt your activities for the day and do things that bring recreation and pleasure. Try it for a few weeks in a row. Tear off a big chunk off Sabbath and enjoy. It may taste like medicine at first, but later it will taste like cake and work like medicine.
To order Bonnie’s book, Sabbath: A Gift of Time, find it here on Amazon.com