Sisters in Spirit is a series of essays by a group of women who felt a spiritual perspective lacking from the steady stream of daily news. They each agreed to carve space monthly on their blogs for a spiritual conversation. The topic this month is: Sabbath.
The first time I saw the Sabbath being honored in a meaningful way was during a visit to Israel in 1999. I’d won a scholarship to spend three weeks in Israel and Palestine studying journalism with other college students. On a Friday afternoon, during an otherwise packed agenda, we were given a few hours to go to the Wailing Wall and wander the Old City in Jerusalem. But we were warned by our guide, Tamar, that under no circumstances should we find ourselves within the walled city after sundown.
It was a Friday. There would be both a call to prayer for Muslims and the fall of Sabbath for Jews. The shops and food carts within the walled gates would be closed and we would stick out as tourist targets if we were still inside when everyone else was setting off to meet their religious responsibilities.
After tucking my tiny note between thousands of others in the cracks of the temple walls, I scurried along the cobblestones as the sun sunk along the horizon. Sure enough, families closed their shops and the muezzin signaled prayer time from the minaret. The sunset reflected in the gold dome of the Temple Mount and curlycue Jews took their children by the hands, leading everyone inside.
Sabbath. A day of reflection, prayer and rest – as decreed by God in Genesis when even the Almighty wanted a day off. The word Sabbath is noted more than 100 times in the Old Testament and more than 60 in the New Testament. God is not joking around about instructing Christians to make one day a week different.
There have been times of my life when I spent Sundays at church and with family – conscious not to be working around the house or lugging a cart of groceries from the store. Lately, Sundays have been spent harried, cleaning, cooking, catching up and preparing for the week ahead.
My ideal Sabbath would be:
Wake up early and take Nelson for a walk, run or hike. Attend church service and be fully present to hear the message. Have brunch with friends. Spend the afternoon reading and napping. Have dinner with friends. Speak with my parents before going to bed early, preparing my mind for the week ahead.
What’s missing from that day? Time on the Internet. Dirty dishes. Worry. Television. Anything that makes me anxious.
What’s present? My attention to faith, friends and family. Rest.
While I’ll never be the orthodox Jew closing my store and spending 24 hours attending a diligent Sabbath, I can be the liberal United Methodist who gets her lazy butt to church and doesn’t worry about what is happening on Twitter. Thankfully, there is a Sunday each week when I get a do-over to try to do this right.
Can I get an amen?
I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:
Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife. (She does not play the organ.) She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice. Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler. Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net
Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com
Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri. She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none. She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her. She blogs at bigsnafu.com.