You can begin new traditions of blessed rest in 2019. Staff counselor Donna Hart, whose article appeared first here, invites you to the three traditions of keeping a Sabbath box, offering a blessing, and a taking a Sabbath walk.
There are traditions or spiritual disciplines for our time with the Lord that can be restfully transformative.
Before we begin our set-aside time with the Lord, or as we call it a “Sabbath,” we must allow ourselves to experience excitement, a sense of anticipation, or just a feeling of peace at being one who “walks with God.” If we have any doubts or cynicism about this experience, we can express that to God. Indeed, we must be sure to offer an invitation to God to speak to us. And we also invite Him to show us things about Himself that we need to know.
There are things we can do, or traditions we embrace, that help us to get a right-minded focus in our time of Sabbath.
Three traditions that can be a blessing to our souls and others are having a Sabbath box, offering a blessing, and a Sabbath walk.
A Sabbath box is for holding what we do not need on the Sabbath. So we put in the box all the things that may distract us. When stripped of all of our tools, toys, and machines, we can truly pray. For some of us it will be phones and computers. But for others, it is a list of all the things left undone.
Jesus tells us,
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)
In our time of Sabbath we take our hand off the plow, and allow God to care for what is needed. And at the end of Sabbath time, be aware of how you open the box, and respond well to what you bring back into your lives.
My friend Sarah has a family tradition of celebrating a Sabbath meal. Before the meal either she or her husband will put their hands on their children’s shoulders as they stand behind them seated at the table.
Then they offer a prayer of blessing, happiness, and strength for each child. The children love this tradition. It encourages each of their hearts to the beauty of Sabbath and God’s gift of life to them.
A Sabbath walk is a walk without any purpose other than to be with God and to invite Him to reveal Himself from nature.
And so we walk alert to the ways nature reveals God to us. We simply linger and allow the moments to be, to smell the air, to hear the birds, to observe whatever is available to us. We simply let our souls catch up with our bodies and minds.
And if we have a question we are wrestling with, we feel free to take the question with us on our Sabbath walk. Do not work on it intellectually to find an answer. Rather, be in the spirit to ask God as we might say to a friend, “Could we go for a walk together? I have something I want to talk to you about.”
At the end of the walk, notice what has happened to your bodies, minds, and sense of time. Then, thank God for the gift of life and His loving presence.
“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly, they you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth…” (Isaiah 58:13-14)