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Sacred Rhythms

Why Christians Celebrate Sunday not Saturday11-Oct-Sacred-Rhythms_web


A small number of Christian groups do observe a Saturday Sabbath.  The great majority of Christians celebrate on Sunday for the following reasons:

  • Each of the gospels recounts that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Sunday).
  • The early church was so excited about their faith that they did not restrict their meetings to one day/week but were meeting daily (Acts 2:46). They did, however, observe large group meetings on the first day of the week in light of Jesus’ resurrection on that day (see Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2).


Some Suggestions for a Modern Day Sabbath

What to include:

  • Resting the body—which may include times of inactivity and times of exercise especially if you are sedentary during the week
  • Replenishing the spirit—what works for you? Scripture reading and study, a walk in God’s creation, reading, conversation, meditation.  Some additional detail:

You need some contemplative rest. Prayer and worship are a critical part of Sabbath rest, from any perspective. Regular time for devotion, reading the Scripture, and listening to God forms the basis for inner rest and provides time away from the more exhausting exertions of life.

You need some recreational rest. The Puritans and others were rightly skeptical of recreations that required spending a great deal of money and time and exertion, because those types of recreations exhaust people. Be careful that recreation really refreshes.

You need to include aesthetic rest. Expose yourself to works of God’s creation that refresh and energize you, and that you find beautiful. This may mean outdoor things. It may mean art—music, drama, and visual art. God looked around at the world he made and said it was good, so aesthetic rest is necessary for participating in God’s Sabbath fully.

  • Reaching Out—renewal often comes from connecting meaningfully with others. This can include a visit, a meal together, a phone call to someone not nearby who is lonely or particularly needy.

What to exclude:

  • Look to unhook from work e-mails, texts, projects, study etc.  Try to finish chores before beginning a Sabbath rest.
  • Buying and Selling – Shopping and commerce get our eyes off the long term and on to the immediate, the urgent and the secular.
  • “Must Do” – Try to make this time one that gives you maximum freedom to choose which activities will truly be restorative.  Obviously, your family setting will influence this.

…Ideas for this section are taken from Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton and an article called Wisdom and Sabbath Rest by Pastor Tim Keller.  Read the article here.


A Questionnaire for Family Members

And he (Jesus) said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”   Mark 2:27

Have each family member (as they are able) complete the following questionnaire.  Use the answers for the basis of discussion, instruction, and successful planning. Download a printable version here

#1.  When I have a block of time with nothing else to do, I love to…

#2.  If I am going to be fully present to the family for a block of time, the hardest thng for me to put aside will be…

#3.  The amount of personal time I have to rest and renew is:

  • About right
  • Often shortchanged
  • Definitely inadequate

#4  If I had some additional personal time in this area, I would do the following one thing—

#5  The amount of time our family spends that would be restful and renewing is:

  • About right
  • Often shortchanged
  • Definitely inadequate

#6  If I had some time and the family’s cooperation, I would lead us to do the following one thing—

#7  Ask God to be showing you some “next steps” in this area.  Maybe jot down what your thoughts are here—

Start with high commitment but with a shorter time period.  Let time spent build as you grow in your appreciation of God’s gift of Sabbath.


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