Reclaiming Sabbath Keeping: Shedding the Guilt

by | May 20, 2014 | Guest Post, Sabbath


“When we drove into our driveway after church, our neighbor stood from her crouched position pulling weeds in her flower garden, walked over to us and apologized for working on the Sabbath.  Though Sabbath is a big deal in our community — big chain gas stations and even the local Walmart were closed on Sunday until recently –I was flabbergasted that anyone would feel the need to apologize for such a thing. Although I assured her that she didn’t need to apologize to me, today I would have had better words to share about freedom.”

Natalie was responding to my weekly email letter to the Sabbath Society, an online community of more than 200 people who long to make rest a routine instead of an elective. She confirmed my suspicions as I speak and engage with many around the world about Sabbath.

Guilt rooted in three common myths keeps people from believing the fourth commandment is still relevant.

Rest Is an Ideal Not Achievable in Contemporary Culture

Have you ever apologized for engaging in an activity that brings you pleasure? Something not associated with calculable productivity like taking a nap? Guilt about pleasure reveals an unrealistic ideal we’ve bought into regarding value. Ideals about rest often keep Sabbath elusive for many.

An apology about gardening on the Sabbath in this example isn’t conviction of sin but the sly tug toward legalism. God created the Sabbath for man because he longs for our undivided attention not because he wants to create more hoops to jump through. The evolution of culture and society doesn’t change that.

If digging in the soil on a warm spring day makes your heart beat wildly with abandon then the activity is restorative, not an idol of identity. Some people experience the nearness of God’s presence more acutely through play, creating art and activity while other’s experience it in napping or quiet reflection. There are no ideals for rest in God’s economy that’s why Sabbath is still as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.

Join me at The High Calling for the Reclaiming Sabbath series and let’s break the common myths about Sabbath-keeping, shall we?

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