Seeking Sabbath at the Center

posted on March 22

In our busy lives, taking time to find rest, renewal and delight has an impact on everything else about us. The quiet of Sabbath has the power to inject God’s freedom into our lives of slavery to our own desire for control, power, productivity and more. Our individual decision about keeping it can have an impact on our lives as well as the church.

“Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” - Exodus 5:15

In Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, Wayne Muller says,

“A ‘successful’ life has become a violent enterprise. We make war on our own bodies, pushing them beyond their limits; war on our children, because we cannot find enough time to be with them when they are hurt and afraid, and need our company; war on our spirit, because we are too preoccupied to listen to the quiet voices that seek to nourish and refresh us; war on our communities, because we are fearfully protecting what we have, and do not feel safe enough to be kind and generous; war on the earth, because we cannot take the time to place our feet on the ground and allow it to feed us, to taste its blessings and give thanks.” - Wayne Muller

As pastors, we could go as far as saying we are drawn into war on our churches, draining ourselves and others in the name of faithfulness or service because we don’t say no. We don’t make room for a power beyond our own to be at work growing fruit while we rest.

“ The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how...” - Mark 4:26-27

As the Blue Ridge District we realize we do not make the seed sprout and grow, and we want to move into a place of recognition and remembrance of the One who does. We have seen the impact of this lifestyle and are calling our pastors into a life with Sabbath at the center. We know that the health of our congregations depend on it.

Here is something you can do right now to begin this practice today.

A Prayer from Psalm 46:10. Meditate on this scripture by repeat it eight times, subtracting one word each time.

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know that.
Be still and know.
Be still and.
Be still.

(Prayer suggested by Eugene Peterson in the introduction to 24/6)

Here are some additional resources for your use and others in the church as we move in this direction together.