FIRST: Sabbath Keeping
I recall some of the first tries at changing my Friday day off to a Friday Sabbath. A Sabbath is more holy than a day off, right? Prepping for that first Friday sabbath began earlier in the week by setting out a detailed schedule for my sabbath – rise, shower, eat, Bible reading, prayer, eat, Bible reading, prayer, listening, and journaling. I let my husband know that I would be in silence until dinner and that I would appreciate being left in solitude. In other words, please don’t be in the house. The day for my first Sabbath arrived. I got as far as breakfast on my schedule before the phone rang (this was in the day when phones hung on the wall and there were no cell phones to silence or answering machines to take messages). What should I do? It may be an emergency. “Hello.” Oops. There goes my silence. I messed up my first day within the first couple of hours. Now what? Well, I had already broken the silence, so it didn’t hurt to answer subsequent calls. Bad idea.
I let my husband know that I would be in silence until dinner and that I would appreciate being left in solitude. In other words, please don’t be in the house.
Friday Sabbath week 2 – same schedule. The ringer on the phone was turned down. If I weren’t home, I would not be answering the phone. I was making headway the second week. Time was well spent in the Word as I took my time to slowly read and analyze the Scriptures. I don’t recall much about my prayer time except that I fell asleep. And then I remembered – today is laundry day. I could toss in a load and pray, change it over and pray some more. Wow, I thought, what did the Lord think about me and my lack of discipline? I could not even stay awake to pray. I thought that the laundry was just as important as praying. Feeling disappointed with myself for the second straight week, I wondered if I were really cut out for Sabbath keeping.
Friday Sabbaths about three to four months later – I recall wondering if my Fridays were really a Sabbath? I was afraid to reveal to people that these days had taken a different form than what I had originally planned. Sleeping later, sipping a cup of tea as I read, showering, listening to music, praying as I vacuumed, relaxing in the recliner as I read and journaled scripture. There were Fridays when I took walks, sat at the mall watching people, or visited with someone. Why was I originally so hard on myself? Where had my original schedule and idea of Sabbath been formed? Would other people understand or approve? Was it okay to encourage people not to be so schedule driven on their Sabbath days? God seemed to be okay with my Friday Sabbath. I looked forward to them. Healing prayers were honored, the Word was changing me from the inside, outside walks were connecting my spirit to God and I was rejuvenated and ready for Sundays.
Was it okay not to be so structured and rigid? I think so.