How to make space for the Sabbath.
Some Rabbis say the Sabbath begins when there are three stars in the sky.
Living in Southern California with the smog, light pollution, marine layer, and drones, it's hard to really know when the Sabbath begins. If you ask me (and note: I'm not a Pharisee), the Sabbath starts when I finish cleaning the house, prepare a meal, and breathe. My phone goes away for 24 hours, I try not to buy anything or have anyone do anything on my behalf. Occasionally we've gone out to dinner or lunch, but it's always to a place where we sit down, eat slowly, and tip double.
If I were to name 2018, it would be the Year of the Sabbath. I have ended up reading a lot of books on the Sabbath, participated in seminars on the Sabbath (shout out to the other A.J.), spoke in different classes on the Sabbath (sorry to the students that were in all those classes), and now I'm writing about the Sabbath. It's beautiful how YHWH has given us these good gifts in the right season and the right time.
2018 was also marked with transition. Changing jobs, moving into a new house can get overwhelming pretty quickly. To be honest, I don't know if I could have made it through thus far without the Sabbath. I mean, physically yes, I would make it, but I would not have the capacity for kindness, love, grace, self-care, stewardship, or be remotely the type of husband my amazing, strong, and brilliant wife deserves. A new favorite author of mine, Barbara Brown Taylor, often asks people, "[aside from Jesus] What's saving your life today?" For me, the Day of Preparation (the day before the Sabbath) and the Sabbath are saving my life today.
One day a week, I'm a frantic human running through the house balancing laundry, cleaning dirty dishes, running errands, finishing DIY projects, and preparing my weekly lunches. I love those days. By the end, the Shabbat Candles are lit, warm laundry folded, fresh towels hanging, and I have an evening and morning to just enjoy being made from the ground. The Sabbath takes work. A lot of work. The Sabbath is not for the lazy, it's for the hardworking.
The Day of Preparation and the Sabbath are teaching what it means for Jesus to be both Lord of the Sabbath and Lord of the Harvest.