Ask the Matriarch - Intentional Sabbath Taking Edition
Well, for the second week in a row, we have no questions in the Ask the Matriarch queue.
So, before you read any further...please think of a ministry question that has been nagging at you, and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that you've sent us a question, here's a two-part question on intentional sabbath-taking:
Do you consistently observe a non-workday/Sabbath for yourself?
How do you experience refreshment, renewal, and/or communion with God on your Sabbath day?
Muthah+ was the first to respond:
I think I tried to take a non-workday Sabbath for myself. I would work on Mondays and take Fridays off. For extroverts like me, I am energized by Sunday and want to start my week with the energy being with the assembled Body of Christ on Sunday. I hit Monday running. For folks who are enervated by Sunday, they need to regroup and Sabbath on Mon. However, all too often Friday ended up having a wedding rehersal or something that took me back to church or office on my sabbath.
It was when I was working part-time that I really understood how insidious the ministry can be and I began to really watch the amount of time I was giving to the parish. I found that if I over-gave to my parish the parish did not understand my realtionship with the parish and I didn't comprehend theirs. I realized that I was trying to be indespensible to them rather than providing the proper model for them to do the ministry that they needed to do. I was crippling myself with over work and crippling them by taking away what they should have been doing for themselves. I began to be resentful and so did they.
I need time to read and spend time with Scripture. It is the quiet time of study that I can find that connection with God that some might call prayer, some might just call "idle thinking'. But I know it is time for God. Is there always a connection with God at this time? No. I just make myself available. Sometimes God is there and sometimes God isn't but it doesn't take anything away from it being Sabbath time. I just need to offer it.
I am loving retirement because if I take the time and offer it, it is so rewarding. I am not becoming a contemplative--I am just learning how to rest in God.
Jennifer, who blogs at An Orientation of Heart adds some very common-sense practices to give boundaries to her Sabbath-keeping:
I try very hard to consistently observe Sabbath on Mondays, whenever possible.
I do not check voicemail or my church e-mail account.
I do not schedule meetings for Mondays nor do I attend Monday meetings if I'm not the scheduler.
I walk at our local arboretum, read for pleasure, knit and cook simple meals on Mondays.
The congregation I serve is most respectful of this.
I experience much, much refreshment from this practice.
Slowing down to hear God's voice in nature,reading without a sermon in mind and just being quiet have been powerfully spiritual for me.
It's taken me decades to get to this point, recongizing that I did not always have the freedom to take a true sabbath, but it's been worth the wait!
I have always taken Fridays off and I guard that day jealously as much as possible, while realizing that sometimes having work responsibilities that day is simply an unavoidable fact of the kind of job this is. I do a pretty good job of not taking on any kind of public ministry work that day, but the fact is that I often do the more behind-the-scenes kind (emails, work-related reading, etc.). But as much as possible, I relax, read, knit, sew, putz around the house, and do the occasional errand. My husband and I are co-pastors and we share that day off, so it's nice to have both some solitary time on that day and some time shared with each other.
While on vacation last month, my husband and I decided to make a commitment to making that day off more of a true Sabbath, and as part of that commitment we've decided to take a 24-hour break each week (sun-down the night before our day off to sun-down the night of our day off) from all screens - TV, computer, iPhone. The truth is, I fritter away a lot of my downtime online, so this is, I hope, going to be a kind of radical liberation for me. I'm nervous but excited!
And you...do you take Mondays or Fridays or another day as your Sabbath?
How do observe your day of rest and time with God?
What do you do or refrain from doing?
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