And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done,
and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had
done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because
on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
— Genesis 2:2-3
Every year when summer rolls around, I think to myself: Yes! A break! Things will slow down for a while. And every year when summer rolls around, I rediscover that this is never the case. Yes, Sunday school and confirmation are on break, but they are replaced with Bible camp, the ELCA Youth Gathering, and Vacation Bible School. And while vacations are fun, they’re also a lot of work to plan and can sometimes be more stressful than staying home. And the house still needs to be cleaned, the laundry still needs to be done… when were things going to slow down?
In this day and age, being busy has become the norm and not the exception. We’re told by society that if we aren’t busy, we’re not being productive members of society. If we’re not busy, then we’re being lazy. So we sign up our kids for allthe activities and we fill every moment of every day with something. And if we’re being honest, we do a lot of things that are unnecessary just so we can say that we’re doing something all the time.
What would you do if you had a day to do nothing? What if you had a day when you weren’t allowed to do anything but rest? Rest is an essential part of our lives and of creation. When God was creating the heavens and the earth, the process was not complete until the 7th day when God created rest and rested. Creation is not complete, our lives are not complete, unless we have rest.
When God created rest on the 7th day, it wasn’t sleeping in until noon and sitting on the couch all day that God had in mind. The rest that God created was called Sabbath, and there’s a difference between Sabbath and just chilling out or doing nothing. Sabbath is resting in a way that we put aside all of our daily worries, concerns, and tasks and focus instead on one task — being in the presence of God. This will look different to each person, but the goal and focus is the same: to actively engage in spending time with our Creator.
For me, spending time with our Creator involves spending time with the family God has given me. It includes times of prayer, thanksgiving, and worship. It means that I allow myself time to sit in the stillness and awe-inspiring presence of God, seeing the plants, animals, and people that God has worked to create. Again, Sabbath will look different for everybody, but what’s important is that we each take time to be still and to sit (or stand, or walk, or play) in the presence of God — to notice God’s creation and presence that is all around us.
But I’m too busy for Sabbath… We have so much going on… Our schedule is just way too full…
That’s the point. Take a moment. Take a day. Practice sabbath. Spend time with God. You were created for a purpose — not to overschedule yourself and to run yourself ragged, but to engage in the mission of God to the world: to share God’s love, grace, and forgiveness with all. In order to do this, we need to spend time with our Creator. We need to refuel. We need to practice Sabbath.
Start today. Take just a moment. Breathe in. Breathe out. Sit in the presence of our Creator, Redeemer, and Inspiration. Welcome to Sabbath.