Advent Day 5: Parking Lot Sabbath

Advent Day 5:  Sabbath

May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,

like showers that water the earth.

In his days may righteousness flourish

and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,

who alone does wondrous things.  (From Psalm 72)

The above verses paint a picture of what Sabbath is all about:  rest, refreshment, peace, a reminder of God’s power and providence, a glimpse into the kingdom of keaven.

Most of us have trouble with Sabbath, as beautiful as the idea might be.  There’s just no time, we say.

Earlier this fall the students in our college ministry group shared their ideas for a mini-Sabbath.  Only one student knew anyone who actually observed a full Sabbath, a day without work.  Click here for my blog post about what they shared — all good starting points for the task of observing a day of rest.

It can be a task to take some time for rest.  The student who talked about the “total Sabbath” idea talked about how much preparation was needed before each Sabbath (which was Sunday, in the case of the people she knew.)  All  the cooking, cleaning and laundry had to be done before Saturday was over.  That’s a lot of work!  If you did it, though, I imagine it would make you more mindful of what you are about to celebrate.

So  here’s our first Sabbath-related discipline:  preparation.

Let me give you an example from an old friend.  Suppose you’re an art or music major and you feel that you never have time to create for your own personal enjoyment.  You long for even a one-hour rest from the demands of the academic world:  a time for simply enjoying the beauty of art or music.  So, pick a Sabbath time, and the day before, clear away any materials that will remind you of your classes.  Set out some visual reminders, such as a different sketch pad or a fresh set of guitar strings.  (You don’t want your Sabbath to be tied up searching for something you suddenly need.)  Then, for the time you’ve chosen, give yourself over to pure creativity.

Another discipline related to Sabbath is choosing a Sabbath place.  Here’s an idea that’s a little offbeat.  Our church has a huge parking lot, to accommodate Sunday services, weeknight community activities, and football games (the stadium is on the next block.)  However, on an average weekday before 7 pm, there are fewer cars in the lot.  Sometimes people drive into the empty spaces, roll down their windows, and take a short break from the demands of the day.  After a few minutes, they’re gone.  It makes me feel good that even our parking lot can be a place of Sabbath! 

Is there a place you can go for some ten- or fifteen-minute breaks this month?  The ritual of going to the same place, getting ready to go there, and having a certain activity when you get there (prayer, reading, even just emptying your mind) may make your mini-Sabbath more meaningful.

Are you and I ready for a full day of resting in God’s arms?

Today’s daily Scripture reading from the PC(USA):

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bill on December 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    this should be day 5, thanks for doing these I am enjoying them.


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