From Friday night at 8 pm until Saturday night at 8 pm the city was still. There were no cars on the streets and no shops open, apart from a few, as people took time to be present with the Lord and in community with one another. I recall watching something I rarely see in our culture as large groups walked and talked to one another with no handheld devices seen in sight! It challenged me to truly reflect upon doing the same - unplugging, shutting down, and truly retreating with the Lord, first and foremost, and with those around me more intentionally.
We don’t do well at this as a culture, do we? We are always accessible, always within reach, never inconvenienced to just put in a little extra at work, always able to go to one more practice or game - never truly disengaging and taking a Sabbath. By that I mean more than just going to church on Sunday morning. What if we took that day, spending time intentionally in community after worship to study (as in our Growth Groups), then turning off phones, not checking Facebook, even leaving the TV off, so as to truly connect intentionally with others. What might our marriage look like, our family look like, our culture look like if we spent more time together? What if we kept the Sabbath wholly….
Marva Dawn, authored a book by that very name, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, and noted in it, “A great benefit of Sabbath keeping is that we learn to let God take care of us — not by becoming passive and lazy, but in the freedom of giving up our feeble attempts to be God in our own lives.” I believe we would more fully let God be God if we could indeed embrace this commandment and truth more fully.
I’d challenge you to consider thinking, praying, planning and prioritizing your fall schedules to do just that. It will change your life. I meant that! Put worship and the study of God’s Word first, and nurture and enjoy God given relationships that day without distraction. Don’t just meet an obligation, but live into this call upon our lives more fully. Join me in keeping the Sabbath wholly in the school year to come. I will warn you that it takes ‘work’, but the benefits are eternal and worth more than any other work that you will undertake!