My husband and I both grew up in more conservative Christian homes. Although we grew up in different traditions(he's from a Brethren background while I grew up in a conservative charismatic church), much of our growing up experience was the same. We(or our parents) took part in the March for Jesus, we worked at Christian camps, sang the same kids songs, memorized the same Bible verses, read the same version(KJB anyone?), and fought the same battles to listen to that newfangled "Christian" music that our parents thought might lead us astray(Petra for him, Point of Grace and Third Day for me). We also honoured the Sabbath similarly.
As the church culture has migrated away from legalism, our practice of the Sabbath has drastically changed. As we've become parents, having a day of rest has both become more important and yet less practical. We do our best to cling to the tradition of Sunday afternoon naps, but that's mostly because we're so tired. Over coffee this morning, Steve and I started talking about the practice of Sabbath. I've been re-evaluating my routines(or lack of) and trying to build better practices. Yesterday we made a good start as we worked together as a family. Being industrious felt good! Today we were tempted to keep on organizing, but instead began to discuss how to rest as a family. The discussion was interrupted by screaming children and we really didn't pick it up again before leaving for church.
Guess what the topic of today's sermon was? Sabbath! During the first half of the sermon, the minister spoke on the need for Sabbath rest. After the offering and a period of reflection, the pastor(different person) began to speak on Sabbath renewal. Although I missed the ending of her talk, it was the second half that really caught my attention. I'm quite familiar with the concept of resting for Sabbath. But the concept of renewal was something new. She painted the Sabbath as an opportunity to taste beauty and thus whet the hunger for the Holy. This intrigued both Steve and I. We discussed this on the way home and came up with some very practical ideas as to how to implement this. Attending church in a picturesque small town will certainly help.
Celebrating the Sabbath will probably not look the way it did in our homes growing up. I imagine that it will be an organic process, moving in different directions according the needs of our family. We didn't exactly rest today as Steve did some work for my parents. But we fellowshipped, breaking garlic bread with my parents, sharing our lives together. We didn't impose a media fast on our children, but we did have an adult naptime. I actually slept!!! Between the nap, new routines and the glorious sunshine, I have ended this Sabbath feeling refreshed, rested and renewed. Monday, here I come!