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Week 6: Friday

Lent Reflections

Sabbath As Life with God

Learning to live free of our idols is often aided by action and replacement. The spiritual discipline of Sabbath offers a tangible way of replacing a life marked by idolatry with a life marked by devotion to God. By intentionally living at a Sabbath’s pace for one day a week, we learn to live freely the other six days.

Our culture and city can value things like image, comfort, power, success, security, approval, independence. The Sabbath lives directly against these values by embracing rest with God. As we embrace the Sabbath life, we become a testimony of what a free life with God looks like.

The Exodus generation of Israel was told the Sabbath was their way of experiencing life in the Garden of Eden (Exodus 20:8-11). The generation of Israel that was about to enter the Promised Land was told the Sabbath will remind them how they’ve been set free, but also prevent them from becoming Pharaoh in their prosperity (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). The Sabbath is an invitation into Eden, freedom, and justice.

To Practice
• Set aside a time to Sabbath. Traditionally this has been for a day, but you will find value in sabbathing for an evening or a portion of a day. If you want to try a day, the Hebrew people would Sabbath from sundown to sundown rather than midnight to midnight and this is often an easier way to live a Sabbath.

• When we Sabbath we are supposed to cease our work, but this is not meant to be a legalistic burden. These four questions can help you determine what would be beneficial for you on your Sabbath:

1. Is it life-giving (rest) or draining (work)?
2. Is it worshipful?
3. Does it encourage me to live like I’m in Eden?
4. Does it encourage me to live like I’m a slave or slave master?

Take your activities and run them through the grid of these questions to help you know what would be beneficial for the Sabbath. Sometimes questions 2 and 3 take precedent as seen in how Jesus did some of his most important ministry on the Sabbath.

• Different people will do different things for the Sabbath according to their needs and personality. For one person, making dinner is life-giving, but to another, it would be more life-giving to go out to eat. It is also helpful to practice in community because for grandparents, having the grandkids would be restful, but for parents having the kids could be draining.

• As you orient your Sabbath around these questions, you’ll find a day filled with delight with God.

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