Saturday, June 28, 2014

Train Up A Child: Sabbath

The most important status symbol in America has nothing to do with the number in one's bank account, the size of one's home, the cost of one's car, or the location of one's vacation.

The most important status symbol in America is the busyness of one's calendar.
We love to talk about our hectic schedules with a grimace on our face and pride in our hearts. 

Holly and I want to do what we can so that our kids won't worship at the "Altar of the Full Calendar."

And one of the ways we are waging war against the god of busyness is through the spiritual practice of Sabbath. Now, on first hearing, you might think we are a Jewish family. What kind of Christian, legalistic family would bind themselves to Sabbath?

But for us, Sabbath isn't an oppressive commandment. It is a countercultural, subversive practice that reminds us we are not the most important people in the world. It forces us to face the fact that the world goes on fine without us. Sabbath reminds me that God ran the world just fine before I entered the world and he can still make it work without me each Friday.

Sabbath first emerged as the Israelites were leaving Egypt after over 400 years of slavery. It was one of the original Ten Commandments God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. 

It wasn't meant as an oppressive command. It was one of God's ten ways to rehumanize Israelites. They had become like animals in Egypt. They worked all the time. They made bricks. They did their best to keep up with quotas. There was no rest. 

But as God sought to prepare the Israelites for the Promised Land, it was vital that he give them a rhythm of life that was sustainable. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Who are we to think we are better than his 6 to 1 ratio? 

Fridays are my day off. And in this season of life prior to having kids in elementary school, we have found a rhythm of rest once a week that works well for us. It is not an oppressive day that we dread. 

Each Friday, we ask the question "What is that we can do day that will bring us life and connect with God and one another?" And our answer determines our schedule. 

It differs from week to week. 
Some Fridays we rest at home. 
Some Fridays we play games. 
Some Fridays we fly kites and teach our kids about the Holy Spirit through the wind.
Some Fridays we swim with friends.
Some Fridays we go to the zoo. 
Some Fridays we experience God in obvious ways.
Some Fridays we the name of God is rarely spoken.
Some Fridays our family gets along.
Some Fridays our family fights.

It's not always miraculous, but it is always needed. 

This schedule works in this season of life for our family. In the years to come, our commitment to Sabbath will likely change. It is not a legalistic burden. It is a life-giving rhythm that is as much a part of our life as the air that we breathe. 

We practice Sabbath because we believe rest is one of the most countercultural habits we can develop. 
We practice Sabbath because we are not animals or machines.
We practice Sabbath because we want our kids to know we are different from the rest of the world.

And we would encourage your family to consider this practice for your family as well.

What spiritual practices are you intentionally developing in your family?

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