Dear Sabbath Seekers,
I just read an article on Sabbath wisdom that talks about taking steps to make Sabbath time holy time. It lists a set of rituals done prior to and on Sabbath that elevates the time of Sabbath above ordinary rest to an intentional level of sacred space.
The author, Sara Schley, who has written Secrets of the 7th Day: How Everyone Can Find Renewal Through the Wisdom and Practices of the Sabbath, lists ways to make preparation for Sabbath that include getting as much off your desk as possible prior to Sabbath but not taking any work home, tidying up the space in which you will spend your time and cooking ahead.
Making sure your physical space actually provides a restful environment can bring you into the ambiance of Sabbath quickly. Not having to look at a messy living room will calm your mind and you won’t be thinking about how much work you have to do – which could abort your Sabbath rest. Music, candles, warmth and pleasing aromas help switch your mind from work to rest.
Once the physical environment has been primed to facilitate a Sabbath feeling, participating in some rituals can set the time apart from ordinary time. Some people offer a blessing of the wine or the food. Blessing those who are present changes us and those who are blessed as we open ourselves up to seeing one another as beloved creations.
Whether you eat, listen to music, engage in conversation or take a nap the intention of every action is to change the tone of the gathering to one that beckons us to a deeper level of attention and awareness.
And, nothing, nothing, nothing is to be done – dishes or clean up.
The transition is complete until it is time to transition back into the every day world of work, hopefully 24 hours later.
Ahh…I’m ready to start my Sabbath right now.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24.15
Dear Sabbath Seekers,
Here in the Atlanta area they are planting winter gardens. Bed after bed of pansies is being put into the ground and as a Northern girl I find this fascinating and odd! In my mind this is the time of year to put the flower beds, well, to bed. Once the Spring bulbs have been planted, those of us in the colder climates won’t be enjoying flowers until the first buds pop up many long months later. We can only dream of flowers or visit a flower shop or conservatory from November through March if we want to be surrounded with fresh blossoms.
Not so in the South. Pansies are springing up all over and their yellows, purples, oranges and blues are vibrant against the Fall sky and gorgeous in the Fall sunshine. I am told they are a hardy flower and will bloom all winter. The idea of a winter garden is new and gives me a new way of thinking of winter.
And I think I will plant me a winter garden too! How about you?
I’m not sure if I will use pansies but I do know that being surrounded with freshness, light and color is important for my spirit and there is no reason to forego that in the winter even if you live in a snowbelt.
Being intentional about making a place for beauty in your life is a way of making a place for God in your life. When we surround ourselves with beauty, we surround ourselves with God who, as the author of all the beauty in the world, is present in these beautiful moments.
So for your Sabbath Moments this week create your own winter ‘garden’. Make a space just for your senses using things that are beautiful to you. Then spend time there every day thanking God for the beauty, bounty and blessing of this earth for your mind, body and soul. Rest in that refreshment. Be filled up and be grateful.
“Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it according to the various kinds.’ And it was so…And God saw that it was good.” Gen. 1.11ff