Embrace what gives life – Sabbath rest

By Dave Henning / November 8, 2021

“[Sabbath is a day to] cease from what is necessary and embrace what gives life. . . .  to lay hold of whatever you’ve put off, and pushed away through lack of time, lack of room, lack of breath; it’s a day to shuck the have-to’s , and lay hold of the get-to’s.“- Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God

“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”- Hebrews 4:11 (NIV)

Ken Shigematsu concludes Chapter 5 of Survival Guide for the Soul as he talks about what we need to do to receive Sabbath as grace.  First, we must trust that our heavenly Father carries along the world as well as our lives.  As Eugene Peterson summarizes in Working the Angles, we honor the Sabbath as holy when we set aside a day to pray and play.

Furthermore, Ken stresses, it requires effort to enter the Sabbath rest.  In contrast, as C. S. Lewis once observed, for most of us busyness equates to a form of sloth.  Because we’ve failed to plan well enough in order to embrace rest.  Therefore, on a practical level, to enter the Sabbath we must decide in advance what we will do.  As well as what we will not do.

Above all, Ken exhorts, don’t allow your Sabbath practices to become legalistic.  Instead, in the tradition of Ignatius of Loyola’s Prayer of Examen, look inside yourself and ask this question.  Does this particular activity bring me joy?

In conclusion, Ken notes the teaching of Saint Benedict that our work itself can become prayer if we develop a regular rhythm of prayer.  Hence, the expression “To pray is to work” and “to work is to pray.”

So, through the gift of Sabbath, remember that you live by more than the sweat of your brow.  You also live by the grace of manna falling all around you.

Today’s question: How do you embrace what gives life as you enjoy your Sabbath rest?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Chase extraordinary moments?”

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Dave Henning

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