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Stop 7: Observe

Question:

Schedule a day of complete rest: What does it help you realize about your life and heart?

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Transcript of Video:

When God gives the Fourth Commandment – the Commandment to observe the Sabbath day and to keep it holy – there’s quite a bit of explanation given. In fact, it’s the lengthiest of the Commandments, of the ten that are listed. The others are pretty straightforward: don’t steal, don’t covet, and so on. But the Fourth Commandment has some elaboration to it. And one of the interesting elaborations is that not only are you, the people of Israel, to rest, but also your servants, your male and female servants, any foreigners that are in the land with you and your animals, your donkeys and camels, are to rest on that Sabbath day, just as you are. For one, it shows the kind of equality of people in this new coveted people that God is bringing about; they are not to oppress their slaves as they were oppressed in Egypt, but they are to treat their slaves and give them the dignity of the day of rest of as well. But it also mentions the animals. Even the animals are to stop their work and rest.

The author, Marva Dawn tells a story about a nineteenth century wagon train that was heading from the mid-west out to the west coast – and the people on this wagon train were Christians. And they found that at a certain point in the journey they weren’t making fast enough progress. So they were worried about reaching the mountains and getting through the mountains before the winter snows came. So half the group – up to that point, they had observed a day of rest on every seventh day – but half of the group felt that they should plunge forward and travel seven days a week in order to beat the coming weather and to make sure they got to their goal.

So they couldn’t come to an agreement. So one group decided to press on seven days a week, and one decided to continue to observe the Sabbath day. And the interesting part of the story is that the group that observed the Sabbath day got there first. The point is that these animals and people needed to stop and rest one day. It was important. It’s almost as if the Sabbath day is written into our DNA.
-Br. David Vryhof

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71 Comments

  1. sandra on March 16, 2015 at 09:02

    Thank you so much for this, Brother David. Between caring for my husband who has an untreatable degenerative brain disease, pastoral care, preaching, and a day job as well, time seems as if it is in short supply. But for the past few weeks I am consciously not doing ‘work’ on the Sabbath after church. This has had a considerable effect on my spirit – I am happier, better rested and am better able to deal with the challenges. Bless you for your kind help.

  2. Kimber on March 5, 2015 at 16:28

    I’m trying to rememer the last time I enjoyed a day of complete rest. Even on an at-home Saturday, there is the cat box to scoop, mail to open and bills to pay, laundry to do, meals to prepare, and (for me, as an English teacher) papers to grade. I guess I do remember one day in the past couple of months when I enjoyed some “binge watching” of a favorite British TV series on Netflix, punctuated by a couple of unapologetic naps and some delicious snacking. A day like that helps me realize that I need those once in a while. My heart is more open after I’ve been emptied of all responsibilities for a few hours. The tasks did not go away, but they didn’t need immediate attention, and I thank God for the chance to put them all aside for a time.

  3. Helen Chandler on March 5, 2015 at 07:29

    This is one of those awarenesses that I accept intellectually, yet to actually live by it is quite another matter. This question even stalled me on my Lenten journey of reflection using these daily questions. I felt I couldn’t go on until I had found a way of answering this question!

    I am still not sure that I can imagine what a complete day of rest looks like. I know what it is to spend time “doing nothing”, but not to intentionally rest doing nothing. Not since last October when I went on a two week trip to England to see family have I spent time simply resting.

  4. Susan Zimmerman on March 2, 2015 at 20:14

    …Joyful thinking

  5. Lissa Davis on March 2, 2015 at 10:30

    Looks like I can schedule one in in about 7 years. Seriously though. A day of rest for me would be a comfy seat at the Oregon Coast, alternating between reading, snoozing and just watching nature.

  6. David Cranmer on March 2, 2015 at 10:23

    It was in grad school that I first decided to follow the commandment to rest one day a week. And so I refused to study on Sundays. I was able to keep that commandment all throughout my grad school and into my first job. But then starting with my second job I found that I was not able to get everything done in 6 days. And so I have backslid into not taking any day of rest. I am so looking forward to retirement at the end of 2015 when I expect to once again take a weekly day of rest.

  7. Marta e. on March 2, 2015 at 00:23

    Being “retired” it seems easier to “keep the Sabbath”‘ than when I had more responsibilities such as a job, caring for children/family members, etc. Still. I think a lot has to do with where one puts one’s mind. I heard a radio program a long time ago when a man spoke about being in his eighties, and that most of the day, any day, was “meditation”.
    Ideally. One would plan ahead, so that meals would be simple with warmed-over or shared food preparation. But, taking time and thought for grace, and “thank yous”. Animal care has to be done, as the animals of God’s creation have a “Sabbath” also, including my horses. But, taking time to read, rest, if needed, or to restore one’s self with exercise, and appreciating God’s outdoors and creation, even on a walk to the barn, being grateful for life, safety, and surrounded by beauty. The Sabbath can include telephone calls or visits to friends, family, or home-bound people that are not “work” but sharing GOd’s bounty and being appreciative of health, etc. I do Spiritual reading and/or religious study, but at a slower (and more leisurely (and comprehensive?) pace. Taking the time to appreciate listening to music or playing the piano, even working on technique or “finding” the music in a piece can give me relaxation and enjoyment. Continuing daily practice of meditation and mindfulness practice at a relaxed pace continues to be rewarding as I appreciate the benefits of a closer relationship with our Creator. But, all of this may not occur all In one day, but occurs as a day flows. Thanks be to God!

  8. Craig Sugden on March 1, 2015 at 21:08

    I would love to take a day of rest but I don’t think I have that kind of personality. There is always something on my to do list, and I think I have been raised to get work done first then relax and enjoy. Some times I think I would like to take a day off work and go somewhere as a Mental Health day, but I never do anymore.

  9. Karen on March 1, 2015 at 19:01

    I usually wind up taking a day of complete rest when I’ve been busy the rest of the week and am too exhausted to do anything else. It would be healthy to take a Sabbath day before I get to that exhaustion point. It would teach me that the world isn’t going to end just because I take a break…the work can wait, in many cases.

  10. Susan on March 1, 2015 at 17:32

    So, thank you for the instruction. I did that today–“complete rest” is too big a word for what I did, but I put my papers away before bed last night (which came way too late because I was compensating for the prospect of today!), I did only basic daily chores, took a long walk, visited my mother who is in a home for special care not far away, did a small bit of cooking (which is restful for me in small bits).
    In connection with the walking, I realized that a real reason I tend to avoid it is that it leaves me alone with myself and I find that hard these days – I’m not a comfortable companion. So, I thought, a good reason to walk–slow down, notice the beautiful day, March coming in like a lamb. Speak to neighbours. Love the old people, visit. Notice the beauty of snow, light, sky, trees. Birds singing. And me.
    About my life? I need this. I love this. It feels like what my life is for. And I do it almost not at all these days. So it feels. That’s maybe not really fair, but right now, that’s how it feels.
    About my heart? I long to rest, this way–not an exhausted collapse, but a presence, being here to notice and respond. And I feel content.

    This process reminds me of the story about the young woman who experienced life as an endless bus ride to nowhere–she was depressed–and who one day with relief realized that she could get off the bus–she could take her life. At the end of this first week of Lent I have the sense of being prompted to notice that I am on the bus and that I could get off the bus–but not to die, just the opposite, to live. I’m very grateful for these offerings on time. They meet a real need for me, now. Thank you.

  11. Roberta Vallantyne on March 1, 2015 at 14:32

    My observance of a day of rest includes attending church in morning, and fellowship afterwards. Some Sunday’s I ccontinue fellowship with lunch with church friends. Then I return home to rest thinking of events at church and time with my cat. The Lord is present in my home. Reflection is a healthy tool.

  12. Lisa on March 1, 2015 at 11:05

    For me, rest is defined as feeding my soul. Intentionally engage in activities that feed me, nourish me for the rest of my life. Physical activities – walking, swimming, time in the garden. Not focused on accomplishment – I am going to walk for 40 minutes or swim X number of laps – but walking and taking in the environment as long as it feels good – swimming and noticing the soothing feel of the water on your skin. Reading books, articles that engage my mind in a creative way. As I write this, I pay attention to the words I am using and how accomplishment is so tied into how I define things…..

  13. Elizabeth S. on March 1, 2015 at 00:14

    Complete rest? I don’t know how this is possible with young children. Sometimes I schedule a day off work when the kids are at school. That way I get about 7 free hours. But I can’t find a way to turn off my feeling of responsibility 100%. For me, that makes “complete rest” out of reach for now.

  14. J.A. on February 28, 2015 at 23:53

    It tells me that my life is out of sync with my heart. My heart yearns for God – time in his word, contemplation, prayer, fellowship; time to do things for my family, serve/help other and time with my precious Daisy (my Golden Retriever, the wisest, kindest creature I know). My heart also wants to contribute to finances to alleviate the burden on my husband. My third child will start college in the fall and I want to help contribute that and a comfortable retirement. I have skills and an education that enable me to do that and I enjoy the mental stimulation. However, the demands of job take an increasing toll on the call of my heart and the conflict between the two is a source of increasing discontent. Today was as close to a full day of rest as I can get – it was wonderful; but still packed with chores and errands. The difference is that my activities were focused on home and family vs. job as well as the with whom I spent my time – my family vs. co-workers. But this is not an either/or situation. God wants me to do both – and I must set and respect boundaries better. This Lenten reflection is incredibly “timely”. I’ve been struck at the utter perfection of God’s timing, in the past; looks like he’s at it again. Thank you, LORD, for your gift of TIME.

  15. Verlinda on February 28, 2015 at 23:35

    Scheduling a whole day of rest makes me realize, first of all, how sad it is that rest has to be scheduled.

    It reminds me that as much as I love the things I do, I have to have time away from them, and away from other people (no matter how close we are) to center myself and focus intentionally on God.

    If I’m not careful, I push myself to the point of sheer exhaustion, and an intentional Sabbath reminds me that God wants me to take care of myself also.

  16. Mark on February 28, 2015 at 23:23

    Our minds and bodies need a rest and hearts are in the right place

  17. Karen Fast on February 28, 2015 at 22:36

    I have to work at taking a Sabbath. I can easily fill my days if I am not intentional about resting. Since I no longer work on Sundays, it will be possible tomorrow to keep the whole day holy. Thank you for giving me permission. I think I will put a copy of the talk for today on my fridge.

  18. Sophfronia on February 28, 2015 at 20:56

    On a day of rest, as I had for the most part today, I like to stay in bed and doze and daydream until 8 or 9 a.m. I enjoy not having to get up or get dressed. I carry the sense of relaxation with me the rest of the day. I feel energized after a good rest. I usually wait for the opportunity to have a long rest day but now I think I will regularly schedule them. At the very least I want to sleep in one day a week.

  19. gwedhen nicholas on February 28, 2015 at 20:28

    It makes me realize that rest is essential to my inner growth and maturation. To me resting is communing with God through what I am reading and what I am currently journaling about. It feels like prayer. It heals, and explains, reassures and confirms. The day leaves me feeling grounded and contented and warm and happy.

  20. Randy Ruffin on February 28, 2015 at 20:11

    Though I’m retired, it’s been a long time since I took a day of complete rest. Like others, I would regard working in the garden as restful, or even visiting a friend, and certainly reading a book.. But too often “must dos” get me onto the computer on a Sunday, or there is a concert that my husband is in, or an event that I feel I ought to attend. I think I do need to give more thought to how to make Sundays (after church) more of a real Sabbath – or some other day! …especially during Lent.

  21. Nicki on February 28, 2015 at 17:59

    I’m curious about this question. What does it make me feel like … simply to schedule the day of complete rest? Or, should I wait until after this wonderful day, and tell you how that made me feel? Being in my 80th year, I already have spent several lovely, peaceful sabbath days. They have never been scheduled, but just open into sabbath, because I have not committed myself to anyone/thing outside my house that day. I’m not strictly at rest on my sabbath days, but I use my time to do things I want to do, that most days I cannot attend to. Journaling, reading and sleeping take up a large part of it. Journaling always turns into prayer. I journal in order to know what’s on my mind, so when things are revealed, a prayer of gratitude naturally develops out of it. It’s all really restful and quieting.

  22. Alice on February 28, 2015 at 17:11

    I woke the other day very tired and wondered why. I had gone to sleep early, I had read a book and laid on the couch most of the evening. So I was very curious why I was so TIRED. I had not been physically active so I just couldn’t understand why I was tired. Maybe I was coming down with a cold, the flu — as the day went on — I came to a great realization — although my body was resting — my mind was not. The stress I keep in my mind is far worse than the stress I put on my body.

  23. Charlotte Williams on February 28, 2015 at 15:01

    KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH
    Unfortunately I have too many days of complete rest. I would rather be up and about doing interesting things.
    I think that God helps me to be able to do my job which is to do His will in my life. First, He creates me in His Image and Christ His beloved Son enlightens me. This means two things. I have great value and am capable of spiritual insights. I am not such a sinner that there is no hope for me; I am capable of living in the holy order of Life.
    To live a moral, orderly life, I am to love and worship the Living God who created me in His Image. A deep belief in God is the first step on the path of Holiness. For God, who made the world, does not dwell in temples made with hands but in me for I am His temple.
    I cannot just read about God or rely on someone else’s experience; I must get to know God by myself. It has to be just God and me. I should turn from darkness and the night, which is evil, to the day and the Light, which is good, so that I may know the things of God.

  24. NA on February 28, 2015 at 14:55

    A new way of seeing Sabbath came to me as a result of this morning’s meditation, question, and folks’ comments. It is that what I need for Sabbath to occur is to establish a Boundary of Sabbath. That’s really what it is, a boundary line we draw around ourselves that says this is my rest time, that tasks and chores and other intrusions may come so close and no farther during this time. It’s the idea of creating a safe space, if you will, in which rest can then happen. While I find taking Sabbath a challenge, I am also realizing that I really don’t need to perceive this as so difficult a task. After all, it is the same mechanism that I use to keep to specific hours during which I will make or receive calls only between 8am(weekdays) or 9am(weekends) and 9pm; outside those times, it has to wait. I just say No, I will not make or take calls during these hours. By extension, taking a Sabbath must also be enabled to happen by my exercising my ability to say No. What this helps me realize is that for my life and heart to be in balance, the most powerful thing I can do is say “No!” where needed, so I can make the space to say “Yes!” to the gifts of Sabbath.

  25. carole on February 28, 2015 at 14:34

    It’s funnybut I always considered Sunday as a day of rest, one I jealously guarded as my own. When working, it was the only day i had to rest Before starting another work week. Now, I still consider it my own, but I find that some of the leftover tasks have crept into my Sunday mornings. I think I need to go back to a day of rest.

  26. Maria on February 28, 2015 at 14:22

    For me, today, rest means taking a “rest” from worry. Go about my day staying in tune to my surroundings, noticing the little things like the dandelions coming up. The crows lined up and sunning themselves on the power line. Letting worry thoughts pass by like a bus that’s not headed toward your destination—that’s the goal and I’ll see how I do. Thanks for this thought today, David. I was inspired to think of rest in this different way.

  27. Michael on February 28, 2015 at 14:12

    To approach the day in a gentle manner gives me rest. To allow myself off the treadmill and remember God is in control. It takes some conscious effort but with some time and patience, this too will come to pass

  28. Gail on February 28, 2015 at 13:44

    I waste a lot of time in trivialities; the command to rest allows me to focus.

  29. Louise on February 28, 2015 at 12:51

    I ponder what “complete rest” really is. Is it different for different people? I know working in the garden is WORK for my husband, but I can hardly wait to go outside and plant a new plant or weed a flower bed. That is soothing and restful to me. Some people mention just sitting and reading a book…yet I would rather troll through ancient parish records online in search of family history. So would that be any less “restful” than reading a novel? I just don’t have the answer right now….something to more fully ponder on a long walk me thinks!

  30. Christine white on February 28, 2015 at 12:32

    So hard to do in this fast paced world. I am going to try though. By the way this Lenten program rocks. I am becoming so aware of myself and what I need to do to take care of myself.

  31. Susan Dredge on February 28, 2015 at 11:53

    The Sabbath (Sunday for me) has always been very special. When I was working it was a quiet day for me, for going to church, for reading, taking it easy, doing the bare minimum and preparing for the week ahead. In retirement although I have time in the week to do what needs doing, I still regard Sunday as special. Going to church is most important to me, not particularly “doing nothing” but doing just what I have to that day, preparing a meal or whatever but doing it in a quiet, peaceful and gentle fashion. Taking time and enjoying the Sabbath and being thankful. I have sympathy for those who are not in a position to take time to rest, recuperate and reflect. My Sabbath DNA evokes a quietness within me.

  32. Jane on February 28, 2015 at 11:27

    Last Sunday I decided to have a real Sabbath day. No errands, no chores. I did spiritual reading, journaling, and napping throughout the day. At first it felt strange to not keep getting up to do something, but after the first couple of hours, I got into the flow of things. It was wonderful, and by the end of the day I felt very rested I can’t even remember the last time I had a real Sabbath day!! It’s an experience I definitely want to build into every week. The real question is, will I?

  33. Rev Tom Calhoun on February 28, 2015 at 11:00

    While listening to Br. David, I kept thinking “How do I rest when the laundry needs to be done, my post-surgical friend is alone, people are homeless, etc?” It occurs to me that Jesus already addressed this. Each of us is solely incapable of solving every problem…we must do it in community. Furthermore, as my Brothers say in their Rule, our role in that solution may be vastly different and “less glamorous” than we imagined. Without rest, we will burn out. I’ve experienced this; many of us have as well. So we rest. We recreate…re-create. My “fitness walk” will be one of meditation, as will other activities of the day. And I’ll be back to help…the next day.

  34. Penny Nash on February 28, 2015 at 10:47

    Occasionally I have done this, scheduled a day of rest. Often it’s because I am not feeling well. I just spend the day sleeping and reading. I have even been known to have such a “sick day” when I wasn’t actually sick but just knew I needed to rest. I wonder what it would be like if I would do this regularly instead of when I’m at the end of my rope.

  35. Kathy B on February 28, 2015 at 10:46

    I’ve always wondered about the Jewish strictures that say what you can’t do on the Sabbath – drive a car, walk too far, etc. Not knowing much about them, what do they leave the observant free to do?
    I can’t do nothing for a whole day – I appreciate silence and contemplation, but I am just not built for complete inactivity. My Sabbath time includes church, often contemplation, but also a time to do the things I truly enjoy, even if some would classify them as work. Digging a garden, for instance, is hard work, but I enjoy it and it is a wonderful time for contemplation. Sewing is mentally challenging but I enjoy it, so I see it too, as rest.
    However, during the school year especially, there are always a few little work things that “must” be done, and I find myself rationalizing that the small effort will have a much larger effect on my peace of mind, allowing me to carry more rest into the work week.
    About my life and heart – yes, my life is busy, but what seems to work as conscious Sabbath rest helps me to focus on the God who guides me through it. And I’m beginning to think that my heart mostly resides in praise – and so much of life is (can be) praise.

  36. Millie on February 28, 2015 at 10:05

    Interesting. I never picked up on the equality teaching in this commandment. Further, the comments connect with what I have been experiencing lately: too much activity at church on Sunday morning. I need –yes, need–less activity at church. Almost seems that some Sunday we should have a service of silence. Would That be something!

  37. Dana Werts on February 28, 2015 at 09:49

    Having Sabbath time reminds me what matters most- I need to return my heart to the grateful place on a regular basis.

  38. JGlow on February 28, 2015 at 09:33

    Do I trust God in my rest? If I take the whole day and rest will I accomplish what I set out to do? I am afraid to stop. This day is a gift, and work is not reliant on me. Resting strengthens me to work.

    • Sally Baynton on February 28, 2015 at 19:44

      I thought about the same thing until I heard the Brother’s lesson today that included the pioneers who rested on the Sabbath and those who forged ahead! With God all things are possible. We have to be willing to give up those things that keep us from fully living the commandments He gave to us.

  39. Christopher Epting on February 28, 2015 at 09:31

    I believe the Sabbath commandment is absolutely written into our DNA! One day out of seven (or its equivalent in time) is the absolute minimum human beings need for rest and re-creation. Ignoring this need leads to artificial behaviors (alcohol and other drugs, mindless activity like sitting in front of some kind of screen for hours on end, etc). If only we would “keep holy the Sabbath day!”

  40. John on February 28, 2015 at 09:23

    In this world of multi-tasking, fast-paced commerce and overwhelming needs of others, scheduling a true day of complete rest is difficult. So it will be the second day of my next vacation…

    The scheduling makes me realize that my heart is willing but my life gets in the way…of God’s way?

  41. Kenneth Knapp on February 28, 2015 at 09:16

    I struggle with Sabbath rest. My tendency is to make list of all the “restful” things I need to do and then prioritize and work my way through that list.

    • NA on February 28, 2015 at 14:38

      A Sabbath To-Do List complete with priorities — oh, I can relate. Unfortunately! In reading your post I got this mental image of myself sitting at the table while making my well-intentioned little list, then having God come up, stand behind me, read over my shoulder, pause, clear his voice, and gently say, “Really? A Sabbath To-Do list?? Put down the pen. It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go for a walk instead!”

  42. Jana Everett on February 28, 2015 at 08:52

    That is a challenging assignment. First, I’m not certain what “rest” is. Second, a whole day?
    Last year I took off about 4 months–and mainly binge watched netflix etc. It was part of my sabbatical from teaching. I also spent 1 month in Pune doing research. But I came back and did nothing. Watching all those shows was restful–in that I can’t even remember what I watched. When I came out of that period, I was not depressed any more. I had been depressed for a number of years–sometimes more, sometimes less, and for one semester, in a sort of manic state. And I couldn’t seem to shake the depression. Medication didn’t do anything. I slowly figured out what was going on–it was about coping with loss–loss of my career aspirations, a loss of one type of motherhood role in that my daughter got engaged, married and now has 2 sons. It was a loss of a close friendship of many years.
    So for me those months were a sabbath. Not in a religious sense–but I stopped doing any work. I stopped going to campus. I stopped thinking about how I must have dementia. I just stopped. I kept on going to church and to a few other things–efm class, outings that people invited me on. I stopped doing much cooking. It was not a good time. But it was checking out.
    I don’t really think of the period of a sabbath–but it was quieting the monkey mind.
    I came out of it really wanting to engage with life. Grateful for all my blessings. I can’t explain any of this. Or maybe it was becoming open to Grace. To do that I had to empty myself of my aspirations, of my attachments. I’m thankful for what happened to me. At this point I have no interest in watching TV beyond the Daily Show and pbs/bbc news. I have become addicted to twitter on the news–but that is only for early morning. I’m excited about my teaching.

  43. Norm Anderson on February 28, 2015 at 08:52

    I have scheduled a day ay Emery next month. Even that day cannot be a “do nothing” day. I look forward to a visit to that holy place I’ve been so many times, attending all five worship services and walking in Maudsley State Park, perhaps catching a brief conversation with one of the eagles there.

  44. Judy on February 28, 2015 at 08:44

    Bob and Sarah, your comments echo what I thought when reading the words, “Schedule a day….”
    A WHOLE day? Well that thought shows me how wound up I am. I’ll start tomorrow with a half day and no electronics all day.

  45. Kara on February 28, 2015 at 08:43

    Resting in our society has been often associated with laziness or idleness…hard to discard…
    Each week…trying to carve out a repose or musical interlude brings such joy to this longing heart and wearied soul…

  46. Roderic Brawn on February 28, 2015 at 08:34

    On Sundays I usually have to go to sing with my Senior Church Choir. We gather at 10 in the morning to rehearse the anthem for the 10:30 a. m. service at our church. I have to tell you. Some Sunday mornings I would just like to sit and read the Saturday Globe and Mail. I play in a Concert Band, and sometimes I go to be ready for a concert in the afternoon. Well all of this means that some days I would just like to get into the car and drive somewhere and walk in the woods. I have activities of others to satisfy. I need to learn how to rest.

  47. Pan Conrad on February 28, 2015 at 08:33

    I reflected on the word “complete” and realized that rest is not enough. I would like to live into “complete” rest as I am trying to live into complete love of God, self and neighbor. Hmm…

  48. Karen on February 28, 2015 at 08:33

    I recently had a day of rest, and I didn’t realize until that day how much I needed it. The weather made it such that I couldn’t do anything outside, my spouse was away for the weekend; it was just me and the dog. I absolutely loved it. I actually lived that whole day; meaning that I didn’t go through it mindlessly doing, doing, doing… I left the things that needed to get done undone, and magically they were taken care of with time of the next few days. I think that today I will live, rest, and not make it a day of doing.

    • NA on February 28, 2015 at 14:26

      AMEN!!!!!

  49. Bob Stains on February 28, 2015 at 08:23

    Some young parts of me remain resistant to Sabbath: those parts that grew up in a strict Italian Roman Catholic environment in the 50s and then a strict evangelical world in the 60s. While there were many blessings from these traditions, Sabbath was not one of them because it was about constraint: “Thou shalt not” play on the playground, run around in the yard, watch a movie, etc. I often find myself reacting against that embedded past rather than responding to what might be restorative now. When I do find that still place, even if it’s only once in a few months, I am relieved of burdens I didn’t even know I was carrying. The relaxation changes my thinking and opens my heart in fresh ways for the next few weeks.

    • NA on February 28, 2015 at 14:22

      Oh, Yes! I understand! Sundays used to be so horrendous in the church where I spent many years. I found them the exact opposite of Sabbath. It was as if we were always being told to Do what someone else approved on the Sabbath rather than what would have served our whole selves better. I still find myself in rebellion at times against the constraints of a typical Sunday church experience because of this training and prefer other times for worship over Sunday.

  50. Terri on February 28, 2015 at 08:19

    I find myself being a couch potato on Saturday afternoons. Though, I watch my cats have Sabbath time every day. They just seem to get up and eat and then nap throughout the day. I hope to learn from them and take a whole Sabbath Day.

    • NA on February 28, 2015 at 14:17

      Cats have PhD’s in the Theory of Rest.

  51. Sarah Acland on February 28, 2015 at 07:42

    It’s hard to visualize a day of complete rest. Would someone else feed the dogs? The cat has definite feelings about whether I am to be allowed to rest, rather than see to her needs.
    One member of our group suggested having the computer, cellphone, and all the other electronics have a day of complete rest.
    I think it would take practice. Perhaps I will start by having a half day of complete rest

    • Mary Frost on February 28, 2015 at 08:23

      Thanks for that idea too.

    • NA on February 28, 2015 at 14:16

      I have found that leaving the computer and technology off on the Sabbath (whichever day I choose that to be) is a wonderful way to take a break. We are in this age where the expectation is that people are accessible via technology 24/7. Our reliance on email, cell phone, smart phone, and so on have created this atmosphere of everyone constantly being in the ON position. But that is like leaving your vehicle idling 24/7 — things will wear out faster and not function as well when you need them to function, and sometimes the thing will just plain run out of gas!

  52. Christopher Engle Barnhart on February 28, 2015 at 07:41

    My wife and I try to spend one day, Sabbath, at rest. Sometimes this is difficult given that my wife is the Altar Guild Director for All Saints. She has to work on Sunday, be there to pick up those things which are not done. We also have responsiblities for two homes which demands our daily attention. But we try to rest on Sunday, the Sabbath, either reading books, listening to music, enjoying the weather in the outdoors. It is not easy to completely rest by doing nothing but we try.

  53. Linda H. on February 28, 2015 at 07:39

    A day of complete rest (I think because I seldom take one even if offered) would make me realize that I’m fortunate to have good health, family, friends & faith, and that being rested, which relates to being contented, is important. It’s essential to know what a rested Linda looks like. believe it would (again) make me realize how important priorities are. I would also realize that the day of rest gives energy for what’s ahead. And that would be good.

    • Cameron Coley on March 1, 2015 at 07:32

      Rest to me means doing absolutely nothing on Sunday or making sure to prioritize something for me that is relaxing. Sometimes I feel like life is such a chore. A day of rest helps with coping with this idea.

  54. Joyce McGirr on February 28, 2015 at 07:18

    I love the Sabbath when I can go and worship and come home home and rest. I am fortunate that I have that time. I wonder about those who do not have that luxury. They may be exhausted from work and literally need sleep and rest on the Sabbath day. God bless those who seek ways to worship outside of the traditional Sabbath day and God bless those churches that find ways to reach out and provide other times for Sabbath experiences outside of the normal Sunday services.

  55. Deacon Tom on February 28, 2015 at 07:08

    For me, rest is the root for restoration. In these modern days when we work and play so hard, and everything around us approaches light speed, I need to slow sown and be restored. God knows our batteries can only handle so much and need to be recharged regularly. Each Sunday restores me spiritually and emotionally, but then I need my rest afterwards to re-focus for the coming week. Vacations are great for restoration, but not from God.

  56. Elspeth McClelland on February 28, 2015 at 06:54

    i realize that I have not allowed myself to have a day of rest. I use Sunday to do other things in the house and garden. While I enjoy the day and wake p each Sunday saying this is God’s day, I do not stop working in some form or fashion.
    I visualize that for me a good Sunday would be to go to church, take a long walk with a girlfriend, do some reading and take a nap. That sounds wonderful and rejuvenating. I would also not work on the computer or check my emails until after 5 PM.
    While I cannot do it this Sunday ( too much work to do to prepare for our missionary trip), I will see if I can do part of it and be intentional in my time.

    • Mary Frost on February 28, 2015 at 08:21

      THAT is a great idea. emails after 5 PM on Sunday. I’ve made some changes for my Sundays..I’ll add that one. Thanks.

  57. Agatha Nolen on February 28, 2015 at 06:48

    I took four days of complete rest in January when I visited the Brothers in Cambridge, MA at the monastery. No goals; no schedule. I realized that I am no longer afraid to be alone with God.

  58. Carol Tolonen on February 28, 2015 at 06:23

    I just wish I knew what rest is. Is it doing what I want to do? Is it being spontaneous? I live alone. I work and have an active life but I still have a lot of time to use as I please. But I’m always doing something. Often what i do with unstructured time is to skip what I think I ought to do and read and journal because I feel a pull to do that. Is that rest? It is certainly is reflective. Or is rest going to the movies with a friend? Or working in the garden? Or taking my kayak to my favorite little lake? It seems like rest ought to rejuvenate one but sometimes nothing does. What IS rest?

    • Kim on February 28, 2015 at 08:51

      I struggle with this myself. I fill my days off with activities I enjoy and find relaxing, but they can also wear me out. I like the suggestion of giving the electronics the day off, but I would have to do this alone, as my husband is on call seven days a week.

  59. Vicki on February 28, 2015 at 06:19

    Just so happens I had planned on doing that today. How affirming to see that the word for the day is to do just that.

  60. Sue Tidwell on February 28, 2015 at 05:59

    Sunday afternoons were for hiking or swimming when I was working. Since I retired in 2005 and do those things other days Sunday has become a day of rest. Sabbath time enables me to be more fully alive and present the other six days.

  61. Bob on February 28, 2015 at 04:21

    It’s going to take a while to be able to really do this. A whole day.

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