Thoughts on Sabbath
Introducing the first in a series of posts by the Apostles family about cultivating a life of Sabbath. Here Stephen Green discusses the challenges of ministry and Sabbath keeping.
Keep It Sacred
by Stephen Green
We hear a lot about “separation of church and state”, but we never talk about the separation of church and Sabbath. The two are often thought of in conjunction with one another, and though this is not necessarily a bad thing, we as humans often take it too far and begin to create rules, standards, and expectations that are not biblically founded and are sometimes harmful.
For me, Sabbath starts on Tuesday morning and ends on Wednesday night, It is the time in which I am able to get away, rest, seek God and holy community, and to worship God through the appreciation and love of His creation. Why?
I have a crazy job! I work 80-hour weeks taking care of 26 teenagers and encouraging them towards wholeness and quality of life. Basically, I am a 24-year old playing “big brother,” youth pastor, and protector. INSANE!
Sadly, one aspect of my job is that I work Sundays and take kids to church. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love taking my kids to church! I am, however, still working and having to give the majority of my attention to what they are doing rather than to the service, and I don’t get to be involved in the community itself for a variety of reasons. When the service is over, it’s back to watching kids, giving meds, cooking dinner, stopping fights, etc. etc. etc.
My Sundays are 0% restful…
So how does one reconcile the need to keep Sabbath with a “Christian” job that demands one’s Sunday to be work? Does Sabbath have to be on a certain day of the week for it to count or for God to be pleased? Does Sabbath have to be taken somewhere between 6 pm on Friday and midnight on Sunday for it to be counted as Holy or Sacred? I think not. Perhaps the church has severely legalized Sabbath and, as a result, not kept it holy…
I maintain a consistent connection to Christian community. In fact, I am living in the midst of one! The aspect of Sabbath I am not getting on a daily basis is rest. That’s what my “mid-week Sabbath” is all about right now: rest. I need rest, relaxation, and the chance to get away from home. Why? Because I don’t go to work…I live there! I can’t separate home from work because they are one and the same. My life now revolves around the house of teens and young adults.
Therefore, my Sabbath is about adventure, escape, and being myself. It is a time to work on art projects, see movies, drink coffee, and to do all the things that I enjoy and make me…well, me!
Sabbath is sleeping in! It is going to bookstores and local coffee shops, eating breakfast with friends, and playing flashlight tag or volleyball! Sabbath is rest and it is freedom. Sabbath is my chance to take care of myself rather than 26 teens, to seek God’s presence and restoration, and to love myself as much as I love others.
Sabbath has become more than just a Sunday morning ritual. It is now a way of life and a means of survival.
Grace and Peace,
Image by openeye. Used by permission via Creative Commons.