What does the word Sabbath conjure up in your mind? For me, the word reminds me of reading books when I was younger (Little House, things about the Puritans) and I cringe. I think of forced boredom. Of days where all you could do was sit and read and memorize the catechism. Of not being allowed to do anything.
This was until I read Sabbath by Dan B. Allender, edited and forward by Phyllis Tickle. It is a book in The Ancient Practices Series put out by Thomas Nelson. In it, he discusses that a true Sabbath isn’t a day of rest, reflection and repose, let alone boredom. He says that spending the Sabbath like that is wrong.
According to Sabbath, the day (one day out of every seven, it wasn’t suggested or implied anywhere in the book that the only day to celebrate the Sabbath is to be on Saturday or even Sunday) should be spent living in the glory of our God and basking in and responding to His goodness. That it is a a day of celebration. Sabbath is when eternity meets time and we get a glimpse of the joy of heaven. Of how our Sabbath celebrations are in a way practice for the real celebration going on when we reach those pearly gates.
Honestly, this goes against everything I have ever read or been exposed to about the Sabbath before now. I wasn’t raised in an adherent home to the principles of a Sabbath so I can only draw on what I know culturally from reading vast amounts. I don’t know any Hebrew, nor have I had the time to really dig into this idea yet in the scriptures. But it is intriguing. It makes sense in my mind that our wonderful Heavenly Father wouldn’t sentence us to a life of drudgery, expect us to honor a very boring Sabbath and then plop us in heaven with Him to party without practice of any sort.
I had been wanting to have a Shabbat meal with my family for ages (blame it on my favorite musical, Fiddler on the Roof, and from reading tons about this family and traditions). I’ve been craving more beauty and fun in our lives. This book answers what seems to be an innate need within me. Our God is a creative and wonderfully good God (not to minimize His other attributes). Why can’t our lives have creativity, joy and fun also? And especially why not on a Sabbath day? Whenever we take a day as a family to play (me, Hubbs and the girls), we come back tired, but exuberant. We enjoy our time together, and the next day or two we are still riding the wave from it.
I read this book after New Year’s, and while I don’t like resolutions (I prefer goal setting) I think this is something we need to incorporate into our lives. We need the day to revel in the glory of God and wonder at His creation and goodness. I hope it will add a richness and new dimensions to our lives.
Do I recommend this book? Yes. It will challenge your thinking in regards to the Sabbath and in how we spend our time.
I received a copy of Sabbath by Dan B. Allender as a part of BookSneeze by Thomas Nelson. All opinions are mine and mine alone and no other compensation was received..