As someone who was looking for a helpful read about how we, as 21st century Christians should regard the Sabbath command, I would most definitely recommend this book. The book as a whole is really written toward women, but there was a lot of straight-forward text that could relate to anyone.
I liked this book because it answered several questions/thoughts I had about the Sabbath; One being the seventh-day vs. first-day Sabbath issue. Kent historically referenced how days and weeks have changed over time (pg. 82).
It also inspired me not only to begin practicing Sabbath but also to practice many of the historical and biblical Jewish celebrations such as Advent and Lent. (pg. 150)
I did feel the author had a sometimes harsh view of the Church’s need for servants during the weekend services or the Sabbath but later noted that she herself was serving in the Nursery at her church.
I’m still going back and forth myself on my view of serving the Church on the Sabbath. While I do think that I needn’t fill up my entire day with Church-related activities (as I wouldn’t exactly consider those things restful) I know I need to serve my Church, whether I really want to or not…hmmm…still wrestling! : )
Here are some golden nuggets:
“’We are every day becoming aware of the costs of a life without rest. Increasingly, social workers, courts, and probation officers are raising our children, rescuing them from the unintentional wasteland of our hyperactivity.’”
–Wayne Miller (pg. 27)
“Sabbath invites us to stop and to rest. To leave the ‘unintentional wasteland of our hyperactivity,’ if only a while. To be content, even if things are not exactly as we’d hoped they’d be. There is power is stopping…” (pg. 28)
“Just as you would prepare to have guest in your home by doing errands and chores before they arrive, you have to do some work ahead of time to simply enjoy God in Sabbath.” (pg. 52)
“In our culture, we tend to be too hurried, too busy, because we are deeply committed to a belief in our own importance…But the children of Israel may have had the opposite problem. They didn’t know how valued they were. They didn’t think they were allowed the luxury of a day off, because for years in captivity, they had not been allowed that.” (pg. 59)
“But just because we are no longer bound by the law doesn’t mean Jewish practices or other historic interpretations of Sabbath are inherently wrong. The practices of God’s people expressed, or at least were meant to express, the people’s love for God through their obedience to God.” (pg. 78)
“‘The rest of God—the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover that part of God we’re missing—is not a reward for finishing. It’s not a bonus for work well done. It’s sheer gift. It is a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of all our obligations. It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than that God told us we could.’”
–Mark Buchanan (pg. 80)
“God loves you the same when you work hard and when you do nothing. But if you never do nothing, if you’re always doing something, how will you really know, experientially, that God loves you when you’re not working and when you’re not busy?” (pg. 149)
“This is what prayer is—enjoying the attention of God. God watches and listens—what an amazing privilege…But also, prayer is giving our attention to God. It is a conversation of mutuality, of paying attention to God and reveling in the attention God gives to us.” (pg. 182)
“[Prayer is] noticing where God is at work and then–and this is a critical part—joining in that work through service, through giving, through loving.” (pg. 182)
“Sabbath prayer is a prayer of presence, rather than intercession or supplication. Sabbath prayer brings us into simply resting in the presence of God.” (pg. 186)
“Therein lies the difference between Shabbat and mere leisure. Sabbath is not a day just to chill out and relax, although that may be part of it. It’s a day to cultivate gratitude, which should lead us to generosity.” (pg. 197)
If you are interested in learning how you can practically apply the Sabbath to your life, let me know if you want to borrow this book!
You can check out the author’s blog at Deep Breathing for the Soul