Sabbath – Richard Rohr

The anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing wrote, “You only need a tiny scrap of time to move toward God.”

The sacrament of Sabbath was offered by the Jewish people as a gift for all of humanity. In our busy, technology-driven culture, it is especially important that we intentionally seek rest and re-creation. Sabbath might be saying that at least one seventh of life must be about non-performance and non-egocentric pursuit, or we forget our life’s purpose.

Friend and Mennonite minister Anita Amstutz writes in her book, Soul Tending: A Journey into the Heart of Sabbath:

The Sabbath, or Shabbat in Hebrew, is one of the most important days instituted by God in the Hebrew Bible. Literally meaning “to cease, to end, to rest,” the Sabbath follows six task-oriented, building, and creating days with twenty-four hours of rest and spiritual enrichment on the seventh. The Ten Commandments call not only for remembering but also for observing Sabbath. For traditional Jewish people, the Sabbath is honored beginning at sundown on Friday and lasts until the first three stars show in the sky on Saturday evening. It is a highly prescribed day of rest, though some of the rules have relaxed over the centuries.

The Sabbath imperative is to not accomplish or initiate anything, refuting the belief that you have to “do something” to be worthy. The original vision of Sabbath calls us to cease doing something, acquiring things, making stuff, expecting returns. Instead, we are called to just be and receive the Creator’s good gifts. Forget stifling restrictions. Instead, time is savored as a precious gift from God. Time for your body to stretch and your soul to relax.

How might you “keep” or practice Sabbath rest? Some turn off all electronic devices and spend time in nature. Many spend time in community, whether with their church, family, or friends. I enjoy reading and reflecting. I invite you to set aside regular, periods of rest and retreat, simply being in awareness of God’s presence. Find a rhythm of rest and work that allows for renewal so that you enter your active life from contemplative grounding. And so it is.


Photo by Wendell

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