Today is the Sabbath – the seventh day of the week. We usually refer to it as Shabbat, the Hebrew word for Sabbath. Sabbath/Shabbat means “rest” or “cessation.” Sabbath-keeping has been a big part of our lives since we began walking down this path of Messianic observance almost 8 years ago. We have discovered such beauty in the Sabbath!
This morning, Mark and I had a short but meaningful conversion of how our observance has been lacking lately. This has been in part to a crazy month with three trips away from home. But it is also a result of, quite honestly, laziness on our part. As many of you may know, we have been home-churching since we moved here almost 6 months ago. Every Shabbat morning, we plug our computer into our tv and watch our home congregation’s live streaming service. It has been such an incredible blessing to us to be able to stay somewhat connected with our community as we make the transition to life in Idaho. But it’s also so easy to get slack. When you can watch service in your pajamas while eating french toast, it’s hard to discipline yourself to engage in the service, enter into worship, and let God speak to you during the message.
This morning, as service was starting, I realized that our busyness and lack of routine had really made our lives go topsy-turvy, and this feeling was especially strong as I was trying to enter into the presence of God. Have you ever noticed how the state of your spiritual life tends to be a microcosm of the rest of your life? That’s what I had realized this morning. Mark had realized the same thing (don’t you love when He speaks to your spouse at the same time?!) and was really feeling the importance of getting back on track.
So, today has been a powerful Sabbath at our home. It has been a day of inward rededication to the Lord’s plans, purposes and priorities.
I’ve been asked before what Sabbath observance looks like for us, and I want to share that here, partly in hopes of inspiring you in your practice and partly in effort to hold myself accountable to keeping this holy day holy in our home. Don’t take this as a list of what you should do, but rather seek HaShem for what He would have you do!
A Typical Shabbat In Our Home
As laid out in Genesis 2:3, the Sabbath begins on sundown Friday and goes through sundown Saturday. We strive to make Friday night special as we welcome the Sabbath. This usually means a yummy dinner that is well-liked, and if I’m really on it, a loaf of challah (traditional bread for Shabbat). 😉 We light 2 candles and say a short series of blessings, thanking the Lord for the Sabbath day, for all He has provided for us – both basic necessities and those added extras – and then laying hands on our children and blessing them. We try to have a relaxing mealtime 😉 and evening. We do our best to stay off screens (one of those we’ve gotten lax in and need to get better about again) and keep the focus on each other and the Lord.
Saturday mornings are slow-starting, usually with lots of in-bed kiddo snuggles. We enjoy a relaxed breakfast and morning, and Mark and I try to make sure each other gets a quiet time. At 11:30 we turn on service in our living room. The kids are required to stay with us until the kids are dismissed from adult service after worship. (This is also something we have to work harder on. It’s so easy to just send them out so that we can focus, but then they will completely lose out on the service.) During announcements we usually make a simple lunch that we eat during service because it goes until 2ish. After service is over we make sure the littles are napping (they usually fall asleep during), and then we’re working on spending some quality spiritual time with the older two.
After that, we rest! Naps are awesome. 😀 This is also a discipline issue, because it’s so easy to justify away planning things for the day. But God’s word is so clear that the Sabbath is to be a day of rest.
There is also a short series of blessings to close out Shabbat that we sometimes do, called Havdalah. I’d really like to be more regular with this. It’s a beautiful way to bring closure to the day instead of just letting it fade away with the sun.
And there you have it – a typical (with God’s grace) Sabbath in our home! What does your day of 1st look like? Do you struggle with keeping your focus on this day? What helps you? Do share!