July 2022: Do you take a day off?

Do you have a day of sabbath rest?

I have come to realize something important recently. There is a big difference between a “Day Off” and a day of sabbath rest. I have written in previous newsletter articles about the importance of rest, and how difficult that can be if you are retired, and all your days are “days off” but are very busy, nonetheless. A friend challenged me a few weeks ago to mark a day as my sabbath, not a day off from work but a day of rest with a focus on my emotional and spiritual health.

A day off for me is a great day to get stuff done around the house, or a day to catch up on things I have been putting off doing. And if a text, or a call or an email comes in that seems urgent I usually answer it, figuring that handling it right away saves me time later. A day of sabbath rest is different. It is a day to detach from the usual work routine and from the agendas of others. Those who are still employed or have young children cannot do this in an absolute sense but can make great strides in this direction. A day of sabbath rest is a day set aside each week to detach from the usual daily concerns and to focus on rest, renewal, connections with God and with a few important people in your life. This, of course will be different for everyone. But for us modern folk I suspect that it must involve minimizing our screen time on that day.

This summer I am working to make Friday my day of sabbath rest. If an emergency arises, the church staff and the council President and Vice President know how to get a hold of me. But for the most part, I will not be responding to emails, text or phone calls on that day. And I ask you to try to respect this boundary, not only for my sake but for the sake of the congregation.

Like other pastors, I pride myself on always being available. My cell phone is never out of reach. But I am coming to realize that this is not healthy. Separation and boundaries are vital for any relationship. Sabbath rest is a boundary. It is one commanded by God. It is even one of the 10 commandments! We ignore it at our own peril. I would be interested in your thoughts on sabbath rest. Send me an email or call me, but not on Friday!

God’s peace to you,

Pr. Bob

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