Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 6th

The painting on the left is entitled "The Sabbath Rest" and it was done by Samuel Hirszenberg in 1894.

31 Days of Jesus - Day 6 - Rest.

In a bookstore a couple of months ago I read through the first few chapters of Keri Wyatt Kent's book Rest, about the Sabbath. One of the things that stuck out for me was this idea of letting go of perfectionism. Most Christians I know have tried to keep the Sabbath—and failed miserably. And many of the sermons I've heard about the day of rest speak of its importance, but they don't necessarily mention that it's okay to fail. Or that, like an artist hones her craft, one gets better at keeping the Sabbath with practice. And, importantly, that even the failed attempts are essential [Rob Bell talks about this [though not in regards to the Sabbath] in his book Drops Like Stars].

In Kent's book she confesses that during her child's soccer season, she and her family struggle to maintain a Sabbath. That is extremely comforting. Because while I'm in school, and especially as I get closer to finals, I find it almost impossible to practice a whole day of rest.

Not that I try really hard. The Sabbath is one of those spiritual disciplines I find myself trying to ignore. Not purposefully, but just because I'm so ridiculously busy. But still, I feel God's gentle prodding. In sermons, in conversations, in books and even in my thoughts, the call to rest rings clear and true. And yet, I cover my ears and I scribble down that day's to-do list.

In a sermon, Rob Bell once remarked that the Sabbath was about stopping your work even when it was not done. That struck me as a remarkable concept. Because it makes sense—our work is never truly finished. But also because I think deep down I have this idea that I can't stop until I'm done.

And that's totally false.

In Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner shares her experience with Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. She talks about the importance of Preparation. I guess that's why I'm writing this blog. It's why I took a shower tonight and why I'm going to try to lay out my clothes for tomorrow morning. Sabbath was meant to be a joyous occasion and highly anticipated. And so I'm hoping to spend the rest of my evening planning, so that I can wake up in the morning and really dive into God's good stuff.

I'm not going to have a whole day of rest. I have to work at 1pm and then finish my homework tomorrow night. But from the time I lay my head on my pillow until I have to begin my work, I will be making an effort to experience Sabbath. And through the Sabbath, feel God's love and desire for me to play and rest with him.

The New American Standard Bible translates Psalm 46:10 [Be still, and know that I am God] as, "Cease striving". I freaking love that.

May you cease striving today.


Andrea said...

Awesome! We just discussed not buying anything on Sunday's. Which is kind of hard since we usually go somewhere as a family on Sunday after church, either for fun or just for lunch. We'll see how it goes today. <3

AbominableAmie said...

My Sabbath was about 35 minutes today, but boy was it sweet.

I'm striving to cease striving. Vicious.

I love you deeply.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

If you promise to read the whole thing and post a review, I'll send you your own copy of REST, so you don't have to just read a chapter or two in the bookstore!
Keri Wyatt Kent

brandyglows said...


Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog!

That sounds great! I can definitely review your book. How should I go about sending you my address?