the Sabbath Keeping experiment

Sabbath Keeping is not the topic I thought I’d be blogging about in 2011. In fact, I haven’t kept a Sabbath, according to just about anyone’s definition (the Bible included), since…well…never. So what is the Sabbath Keeping experiment, and how did I end up blogging about this topic?

Last fall, I began a course of study in seminary. (I’m attending Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond.) I expected to learn, to be pushed and pulled, to have my faith life dismantled and rebuilt. I’d been told as much by seminarian friends. I came prepared for this much.

I did not come prepared for a research paper I’d be asked to write in Christian Ethics. Presented with a list of six topics – all of which were Christian practices – I chose Sabbath Keeping, mostly because I’ve been curious for a long time about what, exactly, it means to keep the Sabbath. I’ve wondered if it is suggested, required, or just part of the “old covenant.” Also, in the interest of full disclosure, each topic for this research paper came with a required text, and the book on forgiveness (my first topic of choice) weighed in at just over 300 pages. The text on Sabbath Keeping, however, was far more manageable. Overloaded with reading already, I opted for the shorter text.

I think God intended this research for me from the beginning. I think He intended me to learn how to keep the Sabbath before the craziness of seminary study swept me into a frenetic schedule and the ultimate quest for productivity. I think He meant to place a certain pause in my life.

I think He means for me, and for all of us, to keep the Sabbath.

What exactly does that mean? Well, as a starting place, it means taking a day each week (mine will be Sunday) to stop many of the parts of my routine and engage instead in practicing the presence of God and growing in relationship with my family. At the heart of Sabbath keeping is a call to creation and liberation. (More on this soon!) I’ve put some thought into the things that liberate me and help me to be a new creation, and those are the ways I am spending my time on Sundays.

I am curious to see what the change will be. My desire is to honor God, slow the pace of my life to allow time for reflection and renewal, and allow a new rhythm of Sabbath keeping to positively effect my life, week in and week out. Want to join me?

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