A Beginners Guide to the Sabbath



It's not possible to get very far in the narrative of Scripture (if you start in what we call 'The Beginning') without encountering the great holy blessing of Sabbath. Humanity, this beautiful duo, is created in the garden with all the great delights of God's good grace. Then there was evening, and there was morning. Yom Ha'Shishi.

When the first humans awoke, they were not handed the plow or the shear and told to get to work in the Garden. Instead, their first full day on the earth was blessed, sacred Sabbath. To be in the image of God is to be different from what our cultures demand of us. We don't begin life by hitting the ground running; we start by babbling nonsense and needing to be fed and changed. Humanity doesn't begin by being busy. We begin by sitting still. 

The Groundling Creature of Genesis is made from the dirt. I imagine YHWH playing in the dirt, forming the mold of humanity and breathing in that familiar breath of life; but being made from the earth has its consequences. Others will trample over us on this holy day. Myself and fellow Sabbath Keepers have been called lazy for 'taking a day off.' The Sabbath is not a vacation.

The Sabbath is our reminder that we are dirt, we are substance, we are human, and we are good.

The Sabbath reminds us that we have agency and purpose with Christ. Christ took dirt and healed a blind man's eyes. The Sabbath tells us that our substance as human gets mixed with God's divinity to bring the blind to see.

I haven't always been a good Sabbath Keeper. In January 2018, a group of students challenged me to Sabbath, a real 1 day every 6. I created a schedule for restfulness and received ridicule from ministry leaders. I was told my optimistic idealism isn't what real ministry is made of and if I wanted to set a good example, then I must always be on and always be available. When I read scripture, I read about Jesus who sleeps in boats during storms, goes away to the mountains to pray (and probably get in a good nap, too).

I believe that to be part of Christ's transformation and the healing of this world, we need to be reminded of our humanity. Not only what we are, but what we are not. We are from the dirt, we are returning to the dust, we cannot do it all, and we mustn't do it all.

I want my faith to model Jesus, God Who Naps, Lord of the Sabbath. I want to wake up, 1 out of 6, and be handed God's good grace: The Sabbath.