Sunday, July 22, 2007

keeping sabbath

The practice of keeping Sabbath honors our respect of God and creation -- just as Genesis tells of how God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, we are commanded to honor God by working six days and resting on the seventh.

Sabbath is not just a day off. It is a way to mark our belonging in God, humility in the face of the divine, and to remember that God does the work through us (and we can't do it all on our own).

For many religious people, Sabbath-keeping begins at sundown on Friday, and extends to sundown on Saturday. Most Christians, however, celebrate Sabbath on Sunday, the day of Christ's resurrection. On the Sabbath, no work is to be done (not even laundry). Instead, time is set aside for noticing and remember the things of beauty in our lives.

We invite you to mark Sabbath whenever you are able. Marking it regularly -- every Sunday, for example -- helps, but you can start anytime. Keeping Sabbath (and, perhaps, sharing a good, already-cooked meal during) works well in the company of others.

Set aside a block of time when you will rest from work of any kind. Begin your time of Sabbath by lighting a candle, and saying a prayer:

God, of your goodness, give me yourself. For you are enough for me. And I may ask nothing that is less, that may be of honor to you. And if I ask anything that is less, I am always in want. For only in you I have all. Amen. (Julian of Norwich)

Let your candle burn throughout your time of Sabbath. Extinguish it when you are done, saying another prayer:

God, for your goodness, I give you thanks. As I leave this Sabbath rest, may I remember myself always enlivened by you.

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