Happy sigh. It’s Sunday! Sundays are my favorite day of the week this semester. This semester I decided to actually treat Sunday as a day of rest, which I’ve never really done on purpose. In the past, I would usually be restful if it was convenient to be restful, but getting things done definitely trumped resting. This resulted in more of a procrastinate-then-scramble-to-get-it-done system, which is exhausting! Any kind of rest that you get using that system ends up being poisoned by the cloud of Whatever You’re Supposed To Be Doing that looms over your head. SOOO all of that is behind me now. This semester, I am doing no classy things or worky things on the Sabbath. Just church and spending time with friends and/or Jesus. This has led to activities that I normally wouldn’t have time for on a Sunday, like:

  • Teaching a friend how to drive so she can get her license before returning to France
  • Having lunch with my Taiwanese neighbor and discussing in great detail the words to the hymns we sang in church that morning
  • Arts and crafts time with Rachel (after we finish our project I will put up pictures!)
  • Going on reeeeally long walks
  • Guitar/banjo/mandolin/bass/djembe jam sessions with friends
  • Movie nights with friends – my favorite this semester has been Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Pumaman, and tonight is Munich
  • Ok, so probably none of those sound terribly exciting, but trust me, they are a lovely lovely break from the normal chaos.

Exodus 20:9-10 says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God,” and I think that the six days of labor or pretty important to the Sabbath concept. I’m glad God included that in the instructions, because otherwise I would get addicted to the Sabbath and only do that. Aaaall week. Instead I am trying to work hard (for the glory of God) and then take a break and rest hard (for the glory of God). God definitely knew what he was talking about when he said to do it that way.

Also I believe it’s important to not be too legalistic about it. I have a tendency to want to know exactly where the line is – can I read a book for class? What if I enjoy this book and it doesn’t feel like a chore? Can I clean my apartment? But Jesus talked a lot about the Sabbath and made it clear that it is about what is going on in your heart, not just about things you’re doing. And this summer, I found out (fortunately not firsthand) that, in order to avoid exerting themselves on Shabat, some Ultra-Orthodox Jews will pick up rocks the day before and pile them at waist-height so they can throw them at people who break the Sabbath (i.e. drive, chop vegetables, try to stop riots, etc). And yeah, that’s a very extreme (and darkly funny) example of what NOT to do on Shabat, but legalism is a slippery slope, and I don’t want to end up with the mentality that it’s only something I have to do.

Also, I feel like any discussion of Shabat is incomplete without a mention of Hebrews 4. Jesus is our rest and we who believe enter that rest! I am very excited about this. This semester God keeps blessing me with a sense of peace and comfort and rest that is not limited to just Sundays.

I’m curious: how do you feel about the Sabbath? Do you treat it any differently than the other days of the week? (Don’t worry, if your answer is “not at all,” I promise not to go old-school Jerusalem on you and start chucking rocks.)

Anne is up in Chicago this weekend being a bad influence on Frances and touring UIC. Have fun, ladies!

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