[#pictureLent] February 27: SABBATH

15 Feb 27 Sabbath-01.jpg

By Ken & Casey Weatherford
First United Methodist Church
Bentonville, Arkansas

First, read Exodus 20:7-11

During our two-year stint living in Scotland, we noticed something. It’s a habit commonly ascribed to Europeans, and for the most part, it rang true in the UK: they know how to rest. Time off work is built into the culture, and Brits feel no guilt taking two-week vacations or months-long sabbaticals. But the urge to rest was even evident in the small moments: 

lingering long at the dinner table for three-course meals;
sitting to sip a cup of tea or coffee;
lying in the grass in the nearest park on a rare sunny day; 
and thoughtful conversation with space for silence.

Life in Scotland made us realize the importance of rest; not only for the body, but for the soul. Rest is holy because it is restorative. When we feel fractured, rest heals. When we feel anxious, rest soothes. When we are weary, God’s presence surrounds us and calls us to rest.

Now, as a family of four, our Saturdays are full of holy rest. Sunday is busy and full of commitments, but Saturday is our day. Our five-year-old calls it “family day.” We shy away from programmed activities.  We eat waffles, watch cartoons, and stay in our pajamas as long as we want. We relish each other, move slowly, and enjoy the simple things: cozy blankets, tickle fights, leisurely walks, and sidewalk chalk.

What if you can’t dedicate an entire day to rest? Here’s the good news: remembering the Sabbath is not confined to one day. When we make space for silence, for stillness, for awareness, for prayer, for contemplation, we remember the Sabbath—the time set aside for holy rest. These are Sabbath moments, and they can happen every single day if we let them.

Step outside. Breathe. Listen. Stare at the leaves instead of a screen. Write in a journal. Sip slowly. Take a long drive and get lost. Practice yoga. Pray without speaking. Have a great laugh with a friend. Nap in a hammock. Indulge in good chocolate, and taste every morsel. 

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, even for just a few minutes.

Prayer: Creator God, restorer of body and soul, you call us to holy rest. Cultivate in us the desire for stillness, trusting that in our Sabbath moments, your presence is all we need.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. When is the last time you experienced holy rest? 
  2. How did the experience affect you?
  3. What are some ways you can incorporate Sabbath moments into your daily life?