Being Friday and as the setting sun welcomes the Sabbath, I thought it the perfect time to share this post with you. Wishing you the peace of the Sabbath.
From a year ago: Shabbat (Sabbath ) experiment:
Clay and I have decided to observe a more traditional Sabbath, at least wade in testing the waters. We are not Jewish and in earnest, don’t quite know what we’re doing but we’re giving it a go with what little we have. Now, You would think it’s an easy thing, simply don’t work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday but it’s something quite different so far and not necessarily all bad.
Approaching Shabbat with some trepidation. Our minds want to wander through the catalog of work and tasks that would normally be completed over this time so that Sunday would be for church and recharging and prepping for the week ahead instead of beginning our work week.
I’m a person who needs something to occupy my mind or hands almost constantly, chores, projects, games, books or composing catalogs of things to do in my head. ( I’m a woman…that’s what we do.) I’m not usually even satiated with just sitting and staring at the tv, I’m playing a game or reading while absently listening to it so the thought of wrestling with myself to slow it all down is a bit overwhelming but it’s also been instrumental in directing my thoughts to the Sabbath itself. In fact, my entire week has been in some form focused on it’s approach.
I’ve planned all the tasks, chores and projects to be completed prior. I’ve planned and shopped for the Sabbath meal and the meals throughout Saturday as I won’t be cooking.
The week has been filled and certainly today with hustle and bustle of preparing so that all is complete and ready before the setting sun where we may welcome the Sabbath.
I’ve had my coffee, started the last remaining laundry, boxed clothing to donate to Haiti, dressed and assisted the ferrier in trimming hooves and fed horses. Now, I’ll empty the dishwasher and begin preparing tomorrow’s meals, set out the nice dishes for this evening, 2 candles to light at sundown and set out the traditional Sabbath blessings.
I will probably work a while on the remodeling project, making sure I have plenty of time for clean up, to bathe, dress and have dinner ready on time. Although hectic, my time, thoughts and plans have been focused in this direction and thus on God, what He has provided in this day.
Although we as christians, celebrate it on Sunday ( which I go to church but let’s be honest, that’s about it. I come home and end up doing chores and all the work in preparing for the work week ahead) I’m finding something deeply pleasing in celebrating it on His chosen day, the process of it and the centering of my heart and thoughts toward Him in doing so.
I’ll write more after Saturday sunset on how this experiment has unfolded.
I will say that my brother, sister in law and niece are living in the UAE right now. My sister in law had written a post about it taking some getting used to. There, church is on friday and she being a teacher, goes to work on sunday and my niece goes to school. You see there are still parts of the world who still live in that system of time and this is their normal.
I think it was that post that got Clay and I talking about the difference in culture….it grew from there into the experiment.
No, we were not raised this way. Our culture is ….hurry up, rush, do, aquire. Weekends are the time to go, do and spend time catching up on things that need done. Then, maybe a once a year take a vacation which is the closest we ever come to slowing down and even then, not really. We are cramming as much as we can into that short departure from daily life that we come home needing a vacation to recover from our vacation! Lol
Now the Sabbath, a day to be observed and kept holy ( Holy = set apart), a day of rest. This was practiced way before Christ’s birth, He himself observed it and anticipated it being observed and practiced well beyond the cross as evidenced by His statement concerning a time when the temple would be destroyed… “pray that it’s not on the Sabbath” which happened about 40 years after the cross.
Although christians feel any day would be good to set apart for this, Clay and I chose the traditional Sabbath, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. And, I enjoyed feeling like I was sharing and experiencing my brothers family’s new experiences with them in some small way.
Now then, I have yet to find one thing that God has ever said DO, DON’T DO or suggested that wasn’t practical for my own well being and benefit. God isn’t a child who has us jumping through hoops for His personal amusement. So when Clay suggested we give this a shot, I was all in.
The spiritual :
The first thing was to do something very traditional that we don’t practice nearly enough, Praying together. First I prayed in gratitude for the gift of an uncommon day of rest. Then, Clay prayed for and blessed me as his wife then prayed for and blessed our children. I know it isn’t very “popular feminist” of me, but I enjoyed beyond measure my husband standingnin and possessing his role of spiritual leader and reflexion of Christ in our home and family. He enjoyed it too and reminded him of his greater calling and purpose.
Clay stated it best Saturday morning when he said “this is something that you definitely have to practice.” It’s true! Slowing the body down is much easier than shutting down your head. I don’t think either of us realized that even while not “doing” anything, we are constantly thinking ahead on work, tasks, goals, chores….forming constant check lists in our heads where five things replace every one thing checked off. That was the greatest challenge. No wonder we, in this culture suffer a host of stress related health issues! We never stop!
Through this experience I witnessed some amazing things and contrasts. I woke up around 5:30 and saw my husband still laying in bed so I settled back in. This never ever happens! Clay is up between 3:30 – 4:30 every morning. It’s as if he had finally given himself permission to rest.
I witnessed a lightness in both our beings that I hadn’t seen before and I saw where even on weekends, we are normally weighted as if carrying around a pile of bricks, overwhelmed and burdened. In taking away all the “have to, need to, should do, must do” for just one day, made us happier people who weren’t just spending time in each others presence but actually with each other for the first time in a long while and the reconnecting of that closeness and intimacy we share that had been buried in worry and stress. we hadn’t even realized it.
Sunday morning two very powered up, recharged, energetic and joyful people awoke to greet the day and week with new vigor and joy! Overall, although we may not always set aside Saturday, we will continue practicing this priceless gift of the Sabbath.
Always a troll….
I had shared this Experiment on FB to which a ” friend” took the opportunity to post some unsavory comments and call my faith into question. My reply in case anyone else should have questions.
Comment: What? Are you Jewish now? Or pretending to be? What’s your fascination?
First let me clarify some things concerning some (assumptions) people have made. I am not Jewish nor feel obligated to follow rabbinic laws etc. I do hold my jewish friends in the utmost respect and acknowledge that I may not sever my faith from theirs (it was theirs first) nor can I sever it from Christ.
Comment: ” I dont understand you reading those Jewish books”.
Ok, that was a statement however, had I actually been asked a question concerning that, I would’ve explained that the only “Jewish book” I own is the bible. I trust you remember that. “Sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus” is actually a christian book that explores what it means / meant to be a disciple in the context of the time in which jesus lived and taught the 1st century jews.
I do in fact have 2 fiction books out of the 100’s in my library where the characters are Jewish but I also have many more where the characters are Amish and I’m not that either. (Although farm life often feels like it) Don’t read stuff into it.
I do however believe that one of the first rules in bible study, accuracy and understanding is and always will be CONTEXT. Taken without context leads to twisting scripture into meaning whatever you want it to instead of what God actually said and meant. Context also allows a much deeper, richer understanding of what He said.
Here’s an example. The 23rd Psalm. One of the most recognised, memorized, prayed and quoted passages in the bible. This was written by David who he himself when young, tended sheep. Owning and tending a flock was very common so his words would have been understood in a very personal way as it related to the day to day life and experience of everyone during that time.
“He maketh me to lay down in green pastures.” , He leadeth me beside still waters.” In understanding the context we discover that sheep will not lay down when they are hungry. Sheep are also terrified of running water. Imagine what a current could do to the wooly sheep.. sheep will not drink from running water.
Another: when Christ said His sheep know His voice…Even today shepherds will gather in valleys and by pools where their flocks will mingle to graze and drink. When they are ready to move on, the shepherd will call his sheep and they will come out from among the other flocks and follow their own shepherd! Amazing!
I cannot direct anyone’s personal relationship or walk with God, that’s between you and Him and you must choose the depth you want but I can recommend if you want a deeper, richer one, you need only scratch beyond the surface to find it. Enjoy and good journey
A rare chance to know Jesus as his first disciples knew him.
What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived?
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith. Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him. You will hear the parables as they must have sounded to first-century Jews, powerful and surprising. You will join the conversations that were already going on among the rabbis of his day. You will watch with new understanding as the events of his life unfold. And you will emerge with new excitement about the roots of your own Christian faith.
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus. It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith. By looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg take you on a captivating journey into the heart of Judaism, one that is both balanced and insightful, helping you to better understand and appreciate your own faith.