Observing Sabbath is one of our ancient spiritual practices. The Hebrew word for Sabbath means to rest from labor. Its theological meaning is rooted in God’s rest following creation. We are called to take Sabbath by God’s commandment. But Sabbath is not just a duty, or a rest from labor, but also a time to grow closer to God. Sabbath is not just going to church on Sunday. Jesus further taught and nuanced teaching about the Sabbath, in Matthew 12:1-8 and Mark 12:8 saying, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath.” Sabbath is setting aside a time to be with God, to pray, and to listen to God’s voice in your life. Sabbath is also a time of self-care so that you can receive the gift of God’s love for you. Sabbath can be observed at any time of the day or any time of year. Sabbath can take place anywhere, in your own living room, on a walk in the mountains, or at the beach.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote a book, Gift from the Sea, about her Sabbath time at the beach. At the beach, she considered lessons from the sea and its creatures, lessons about simplification, relationships, grief, aging, joy, and fulfillment. As she walked the beach, she collected shells in her pocket. She writes, “Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beachliving: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid. Each cycle of a relationship is valid.
And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.” (P.110).
Summer is one of the best times to integrate Sabbath practices into your life. I encourage and challenge you to find time and place to be alone with God during these summer months. May you experience the gifts of summer with God!
Pastor Linda Miles