Family Sabbath

Years ago when we lived in the OC and attended The Church We Loved, the teaching pastors asked the congregation to take a Sabbath. A true Sabbath. And by “true”, they meant, “whatever means ‘rest’ for you”.

To encourage this, 2 weekly Sunday worships were identical for one month. If your family chose to not attend church during Week 1, Week 2 would be exactly the same music, sermon, etc… The same format was offered for Weeks 3 & 4. This way, no one could/would/should feel guilt for skipping corporate worship.

The Church We Loved facilitated our spiritual growth in many ways – but nothing surpassed the impact of the Sabbath Experiment. It changed our small family of 4. We turned off screens, went on picnics, hiked trails, and concentrated on the blessings God gives us but usually are to self-centered to take for granted.

We observed the Sabbath faithfully after that…for about two years. Then we moved. And instead of taking a Sabbath one day, we said, “It will be okay if we skip one week.” One week became two, two weeks became 300, and the Sabbath we once took seriously faded into our past.

Last week, Edd and I realized we’d become desperate for the Sabbath we used to observe. We made the decision to skip church and spend the day together as a family. We drove an hour and a half to Hood River, OR to take part in the harvest fall festivities happening this time of year. We had no schedule, no agenda other than to spend time together.

Even though our home-school lifestyle requires allows me to spend almost every waking moment with my offspring, the relaxed vibe of a Sabbath brings the family relationship to a different level. For Edd, getting to play with the girls and away from my “honey-do” list leaves him more energized for the work week ahead. 

I think the Big Guy was on to something when he made observing the Sabbath a commandment. Maybe if we all took this rule seriously, there would be less breaking the other nine.

Do you take the 4th Commandment as seriously as you do the others? What is your favorite way to rest and renew?

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