Monday, October 19, 2009

Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest

One of the great contributions of Judaism to religion is the Sabbath. The word Sabbath means "rest" and comes from the first chapter of Genesis where God rested on the seventh day of creation. The idea is that if God rested on the seventh day, so should we. The fourth of the Ten Commandments is to "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy."

The idea of an entire day of rest and renewal seems alien to our busy schedules. When confronted with "free" time, we want to fill it with doing something. There is always one more email to answer, one more phone call to return, one more errand to run and one more chore to accomplish. The idea of simply and quietly being is so out of place.

In his book Sabbath: Restoring the Rhythm of Rest, Wayne Muller contends, "Our relentless emphasis on success and productivity has become a form of violence. We have lost the necessary rhythm of life, the balance between effort and rest, doing and not doing. Constantly striving, we feel exhausted and deprived in the midst of abundance, longing for time with family and friend, longing for a moment to ourselves."

The tradition of observing a Sabbath offers a time for rest. Whatever our spiritual tradition, we can make some time in our schedules for reflection and renewal. It can be an hour, an afternoon, or even a walk. Taking such time off allows the essential goodness of creation to nourish our tired and depleted souls.

I have found that when I create some sabbath time in my day, things go better. I have more energy, am more alert, and enjoy what I'm doing more. How do your create sabbath time in your day?

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