Advent Reflections News

An Invitation to Sabbath

Receiving God's Good Gifts

Experiencing Holy Rest

This past summer, I was able to be a part of a Clergy Renewal Program at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

I spent 10 days praying the hours, contemplative listening, in discernment activities, in a day of silence and most of all just resting in God.  My soul was longing for an experience such as this and I was so grateful for the time to actually do it.  I needed the reminder that God loves me just as much when I am at rest as when I am productive and busy.  Maybe you do too?

This Advent, we are inviting the Good Shepherd community to consider this kind of rest and renewal through the practice of Sabbath.  Sabbath is an ancient practice of “holy rest” and is an invitation to spend time with God.  While we hear a lot about self-care in our culture, the idea of giving time to rest in God isn’t something we talk about much.  You see, Sabbath is a gift from God to us.  It is a time set aside to just be, just like God when God took the 7th day off in the formation of Creation.  God rested and so can we!

It Takes Practice

But Sabbath takes practice.  It is the opposite of what our accomplishment-driven world tells us to do, so it might feel weird at first.  The main tenets of Sabbath are rest, worship and community.  So this Advent season, will you try it out with us?  You are invited to set aside an hour, an afternoon or a whole day to practice Sabbath.  You can commit to this yourself or with your whole household.

Theologian Walter Bruggeman described Sabbath as “an act of both resistance and alternative. It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods.” And it is an alternative to the demands of this world replaced by, “the awareness and practice of the claim that we are situated on the receiving end of the gifts of God.”

We Need This

Sabbath is something God needed and so do we.  It is a gift from God to us that shows us that our lives don’t depend on endless productivity or consumerism or doing something all the time.  We are invited to rest in the love of God not because of what we do, but because of who we are, beloved children of God who loves us so much that God sent Jesus into the world for us.  Join us as we celebrate Sabbath this Advent!

Find More Resources for your Sabbath

Ways to Engage with the Sabbath

  • Decide on an hour or more a week that you are going to practice Sabbath and commit to it for the season of Advent.
  • Write down things you won’t be doing during your Sabbath time.
    Examples: Set aside screens and devices; don’t do chores; don’t check emails.

  • Brainstorm things you can do or would like to try. For example: take a nap, play a game, read a book, spend time outside, pray, read the Bible.
  • Come to worship at Good Shepherd – we will be incorporating Sabbath reminders into our worship and life together.