Why keep the Sabbath?

It's been one of those things I've always wanted to do: keep Sunday entirely for God. That's one of the reasons I spent Saturdays in Lent unplugged

The desire for rest is great, especially these days of working full time and having the weekend left for chores.

Keeping the Sabbath is one of the commandments and I can remember a time when no store was open on Sundays. Even now in my home town in Australia many of the shops are closed on Sundays, or have shortened hours.

You had to be intentional about getting to the bank before it closed, of getting your groceries ahead of time, especially over Easter when shops kept Sunday hours Sunday through Tuesday.

Today, we bank online, we shop for groceries at any almost any hour, we can make a run the pharmacist, ditto ditto.

Everything is convenient, instant, on demand. There is no curb to prevent us from consuming any meal we like, enjoying any product we like at any time. Preferably yesterday.

And life becomes a blurring rush of "What's next?" "What's next?", of hands never idle -- even now I am writing this on my iPhone while waiting for the bus.

Is stopping to take a breath, to rest, to assess our thoughts and actions, something we even think about doing these days?

I do in a wistful way.

And then I remember that all I need to do is remember, and:
  • Take a breath between tasks at work;
  • Limit my online time on the weekend (and also solitaire games!)
  • Take a breath, right now; and really see what is around me, right now and know God is with me, right now.

And sometimes I can choose to spend a little more time there and sometimes the email beeps, the laundry shuts off, or someone needs my attention and I am back in the pell-mell of life.

My goal throughout the Easter season was to continue unplugging on the Sabbath, switching from Saturday to Sunday.

At this almost halfway mark, have I completely stayed off my iPhone or computer from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday?

Well, no. That's the bad news.

The good news is that I've cut down on plugging-in. It's enough engrained in me that I am more intentional with how I choose to spend my time.

There's a sentence of scripture that reads:
"Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ." - Colossians 2:16
(Aside from my general dislike of pulling a line of Scripture out of context and proof-texting it, I did read this as part of morning prayer last week and this line leapt out at me.)

I read this as: don't beat yourself up about rules and regulations of how one ought to keep the Sabbath but be kind to yourself and remember you are God's.

How do you feel about keeping the Sabbath? Do you have Sabbath practices? Please share your Sabbath thoughts below.


  1. Leanne,

    I so appreciate your thoughtful response to our Sabbath-keeping writing prompt at The High Calling. And your verse is just right for this post, especially with regard to rules and regulations. I'm glad you included it.

    Thanks for being a part of our Sabbath project.

    Jennifer Dukes Lee, community editor

  2. You're from Australia? That is so cool! Where? (Sorry, as an American that is fascinating to me).

    Have you read Mudhouse Sabbath by Laura Winner? It's not for everybody because she can be pretension, but the chapter on Sabbath is worth the price of the book. She converted from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity (the Episcopal church to be exact), and the book is about the things she misses in Judaism and how she connects them to her Judaic practice. Since you've talked about Jewish prayers I think it'd be up your alley.

  3. Caroline -- I'd heard of Mudhouse Sabbath but I hadn't realized that was the background! As an Episcopalian working in a Reform synagogue, it sounds like I really should pick that one up! Thanks :)

  4. Lovely thoughts here! We must start somewhere. I think Sabbath involves a deliberate listening for God ... and for me, that requires putting down things like technology for a time. I'm so glad to meet you through the High Calling's Sabbath project this coming week.

  5. I also take a Sabbath from electronics and that small decision has proven to be a big difference maker. I started the Sabbath Society almost a year and half ago and now have over 200 people observing Sabbath with me in community. Would love you to join us if you feel led to. http://redemptionsbeauty.com/sabbathsociety

  6. Laura, I'm actually following your blog at the moment :) I'm hoping to get time this weekend to catch up on other people's submissions to the High Calling. Have only read a handful so far. But it's been a busy week.

    Shelly, I will check out your Sabbath Society. I had one gal at my church who gave up Facebook for Lent, maybe she and I could start a local chapter :)


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