“Taking Sabbath”

This Sunday I’ll be concluding a sermon series that I’ve been doing at my local church this fall called, “Back to Basics.”  With that theme in mind, I wanted to talk about a “basic” that has been on my mind a lot these days: taking Sabbath.  By that I mean the practice of setting aside one day to worship, rest and play.  This fall I have felt called to learn more about taking Sabbath, and to be more intentional about my own Sabbath-keeping.  So I’ve sought help from Pastor Don Postema, who wrote a study guide called Catch Your Breath: God’s Invitation to Sabbath Rest.  So every Monday morning for six weeks I read a chapter on the topic.  Postema addresses Sabbath as: mindfulness, rest, refreshment, receptivity, release and refocusing.  In addition to discussing these various aspects of Sabbath, he led me through various Sabbath practices, including: solitude and silence, Scripture readings, songs and prayers.  Doing this study on my Day of Rest really allowed me to take Sabbath—thanks be to God!  Now I want to encourage you to also take Sabbath.  Perhaps you do.  That’s great!  What works for you?  How do you rest and renew in the Lord’s presence?  One of my mentors in writing, Pastor Eugene Peterson, describes the Sabbath as a day to “pray and play.”  That’s a good way to think about Sabbath!  However you take Sabbath, I encourage you to do it, as it is not only a command (Fourth of the Ten Commandments), but also God’s gracious invitation to be with him.  I often notice as I preach that many of my people are tired.  Perhaps you are too.  Happily, Jesus invites you to take Sabbath.  He says, “Come to me, all you who weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  How will you respond to Jesus’s gracious invitation?

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