Dear Sabbath Seekers,
There is a new book out called, 24/6: a prescription for a healthier, happier life by Matthew Sleeth, M.D. I wish I had written it! In this book, Dr. Sleeth, an emergency room physician, talks about the human body’s need for rest. The beauty of the Sabbath commandment, according to Sleeth, is that God has given us a perfect prescription for our body and soul and we are take it one day a week. Now that is really nothing new to those of you who read this blog regularly.
The need for and the power of Sabbath rest have not been downplayed here. However, the concept of a 24 hour rest period is often downplayed, ignored and or dismissed as impossible for many folks living in the 21st century.
Many modern Christians balk at the thought of taking time off from their overcrowded schedules and adding Sabbath rest. Plus for far to many Christians, Sunday mornings are anything but a time of rest. Rather they are an extremely busy time if you are active in your church. There may be early choir rehearsal, an after church meeting, Sunday School to prepare for, or a fellowship hour to set up. The pastor isn’t the only one who comes home from church in need of a nap. We have created some strange and mixed messages about Sabbath.
For the first time there is a generation growing up without knowing that once upon a time Sunday was a day of rest. And the generation who grew up knowing about keeping Sabbath we have not done a very good job teaching our children to keep the fourth commandment.
We, as a culture, have subtracted rest from the week. A rest commanded by God for our health and well-being. It is here that Sleeth had me sitting up and taking a deep breath. He writes:
“Subtracting a day of rest each week has a profound effect on our lives. How could it not? One day a week adds up. Fifty-two days a year times an average life span is equal to more than eleven years. Take away eleven years of anything in a lifetime and there will be a change. Subtract that over a decade of sleep, work, or education and the entire character of one’s existence is altered.” (p.9)
Wow! Let that sink in for a minute. Imagine losing eleven years of rest and relationship with God. It boggles the mind and it does have a profound effect on our bodies, minds, souls, and culture.
And I imagine that even though we are subtracting eleven years from our lives we are adding more than eleven years of stress, wear and tear on our bodies.
Take time for Sabbath this week. A Sabbath of rest, worship, relaxation, family, friends and food. Unplug from the world of electronic information and plug into a world of peace, joy, and love. Show your children, grandchildren, family, friends, and community what they are missing.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Dt. 6.6-7