The Sabbath Experiment

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.

Screenshot_20180927-230753_Google

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.
Shabbat Shalom!
Sabbath experiment 
The results

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.
The practical:
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

Suggested reading:  

Screenshot_20180927-232358_Google

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.

39 comments

  1. You shared such a beautiful experience that I really believe God intended for everyone to experience. That peace that comes by honoring the time He also has set aside. I’m so glad you and your husband have been blessed by observing the Sabbath!

    We also enjoy the 7th day rest, and find it to be a huge blessing, and really a need. I don’t believe we could survive without it!

    God is clearly leading you in this Sabbath experiment. I believe He will keep holding your hand as you follow Him in faith.

    Isn’t it interesting that the only commandment anyone really wants to do away with is the one in which God said, “Remember?” You don’t find many people saying we should get rid of the killing or stealing commandments, just the 4th. I find that interesting.

    God bless you!

    http://www.lessonsandlessons.wordpress.com

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement! Also, a very astute observation indeed! I popped over to your blog and reading a few posts, knew immediately that this is one for me to follow. I love your kind and reverent heart, this heart instilled throughout your family and knew you and your blog…that’s for me. 😊💕 So glad you stopped by…found me in the world, inspired my day.

      Like

  2. By observing the sabbath you are making space in your life to pray and think about our Lord. Don’t you think if more people took time out from their busy schedules to rest (regardless of their beliefs
    ) the world would be a better place. In our country shops do part time hours on a Sunday, bars too, yet people complain that things aren’t open 24/7. We all need some down time, we all need time for prayer and reflection. We need time with God and with each other. As for your troll friend, she clearly doesn’t understand that being Christian means accepting others for who they are and what they do.

    On a lighter note, wordpress must be taking some time off from life too, I am not able to like anyone’s posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura, beautiful post. My young friend Asa is Jewish and while I’ve always been pro-Jewish (to an extreme!), knowing him and learning about the practice of Judaism has so enriched my Christian faith. When he stayed with us on his move to Chicago, we did the Havdalah with him. A highlight of my life for sure.

    Like

  4. I have never understood why so many ‘Christians’ break the 4th Commandment? How is it different to stealing covetting or killing?

    The Commandment is to labour for six days and rest on the Seventh – the Sabbath. To rest on the First day – the Lord’s Day – means working on the 7th?

    I also wonder if essential service workers (police, doctors, nurses, utility workers, etc.) or Priests, get an exemption from the 4th? 😉

    Love your open mind and open heart to His Word. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • The Modern church cites:
        Mark 2:27-28 say, “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Jesus Christ, the Scriptures reveal, is the Lord of the Sabbath.
        But I’m comfortable enough with the experiment on the true sabbath.

        Like

      • Indeed they are to be!

        Did God or Christ free them from obeying the Ten Commandments of the First Covenant though or say that the Sabbath was now a Sunday/First day??

        Or has man done that for himself?

        “…not one jot or title shall be removed from the Law until all is fulfilled.” Matt 5:18

        Just wondering.

        Liked by 2 people

      • In the eyes of the jewish, if you obey the 7 Noahide laws: not to commit idolatry
        not to commit blasphemy
        not to commit murder
        not to have forbidden sexual relations
        not to commit theft
        not to eat flesh cut from a living animal
        to establish courts of justice to punish violators of the other six laws.
        You would be considered a righteous gentile.
        From Gods perspective we are through Christ grafted into the vine, so to speak….His children therefore, we are to obey His commands. In fact, I think its even more so….as christ, The Word of God, made flesh, called not only the act but also the intention of the heart. Recall for instance that looking upon a woman with lust is equivalent to having committed adultry in the heart. Thank God for christ! Who could stand without him? All of it, All of it, is to a single conclusion. That we can’t. We cannot achieve righteousness without Him. That’s the purpose, to expose our need of Him and that the glory is His alone…..” Lest any should boast”

        Like

      • I believe there was lively discussion among the disciples concerning those things such as kosher eating etc but I’ll have to gather research and dig into scripture before I feel I can give you the full and acurate answer you deserve. I don’t want to not give you the best possible answer and thats going to take me some time. Ok? 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’m more or less thinking out loud, so don’t feel any pressure! I always think of Peter’s dream about the animals previously considered unclean and the voice of God telling him, “Peter, rise and eat.” So I tend to view some laws that God specifically gave the Jews to be officially rescinded.

        Liked by 1 person

      • To the best of my limited knowledge on that subject the Mosaic Law was written by man ‘inspired’ by God as a way for Isrealites from the Exodus to abstain from sinning against God and it had somewhat limited success in that regard. 😉

        Are non-Jews seeking to do God’s Will always in all things ‘required’ to follow it to the letter? you’d have to ask God that one – i’m not qualified.

        I would say that anyone who follows Christ’s Commandment in no way breaks any of the 10 commandments and my initial question was made in regard to one specific one.

        The point of my question being: who’s interpretation of His Commandments do we choose to follow? Our own? Another human’s? A ‘Church’s’? A ‘Religion’s’ or God’s?

        If we truly follow God in Spirit (through doing as Christ did) then we will obey His Law and there is no ‘requirement’ to rigidly adhere to a set of written rules… but i have some doubt as to how well any of us have fully achieved that just yet so maybe they were written for a good reason? One we might benefit from ourselves even? 🙂

        Personally, i seek His Will, but know i do so as yet imperfectly. It’s good to have some idea of what we should or should not do while still in the flesh. I can think of at least 10 things thanks to our Old Testament – and one(2) from our New One.

        As for the 3rd one received of Muhammad, i have not really looked all that closely! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for that very thoughtful reply. I apologize in advance that my own reply to your thoughtfulness will not measure up. Here’s where I am on it: I love a Shabbat rest. I usually do that to some extent. I also love worshiping on the first day of the week as the early church did. I also align myself with Paul in knowing that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. Shalom my friend.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Love (of God) IS the key! 🙂

        I completely agree with you and Paul regarding our flesh body. ” I do what i would not do and I do not do what I would”. Love and following the Spirit can allow us to do what is Good.

        Being as yet imperfect beings confined in our earthly body complicates things greatly but i try to remember that staying true to His Word will help me become more closely aligned with His Will. Sometimes this is difficult as many other humans have come between me and the ‘Original’ Word.

        Our individual spirit is able to speak to us in His language more truly than is man’s written word. 🙂

        I believe Christ was trying to give us all this message.

        Blessings to you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • What new covenant??? Our Saviour’s very words tell us that He came to full fill the law, not to away with it.
        I encourage you to study your Bible, you will find some shocking, life changing truth that you won’t here a lot of people talking about.( And no, I’m not Jewish.)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Always remember: The Promise came from God before The Law… Hebrews 8:13 King James Version (KJV)
        13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

        Like

    • Constantine, was the high priest of the baal religion ( Sun god) converting was at least as much political at the time ( persecution of christians) while hijacking the faith, attempted to remove as much jewishness as possible and mixed in the pagan practices to make it more palatable to the sun worshipers including the christmas traditions of the tree ( Jeremiah 10) and change the Sabbath to SUNday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quite right L. 🙂

        And since then followers of the Romans, and many of those those who listened to them to base their versions of the Church upon, have obeyed a man’s word over God’s Word.

        Do i have that right? 😉 🙂

        No-one disputes that Saturday is the 7th Day. Some Christians choose to honour Christ’s resurrection on the day after the Sabbath Holy Day as the First Day of the Lord and replace the Sabbath with it.

        I don’t see where in the Bible Christ said to do that?

        I see where men have said it, but not God.

        However you spend it, enjoy your Sunday Hun. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I cannot and will not condemn believers of any christian denomination. I believe they are loving and worshipping with all that they know. The problem lies in the the 1st non-jewish church began as the roman catholic which was inundated with pegan practices. The others, later, sprang from protest of it, yet.. . By then, the practices had become unquestioned tradition. Most dont know any better nor even questioned them. This is the faith ( practices) that their parents were born into, grandparents and themselves therefore to them, quite natural. I was an adult myself with kids of my own before I began questioning….whatever does a bunny and eggs have to do with….? Why do we do X? Seeking and finding those answers were astonishing and set me back on my heels AND dismantling the things I thought I knew, beginning over, from scratch, to basics of what it was supposed to be prior.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope i did not come across as condemning anyone – it is certainly not my place to do so!

        Exhortation of God’s Truth and reminders of what He has Commanded, including that those who follow Him put all things to the test and not slavishly follow others ‘away’ from His Word is something else, is it not?

        In 2,000 years lots of little things can get forgotten or distorted, not to mention translated imperfectly and each generation’s understanding differs from that which went before.

        It’s hard to see clearly through a dark glass.

        Lord knows none of us are Perfect! 😉

        Like

      • Oh not at all! I was simply being proactive so that readers would understand that I’m not condemning anyones denomination or them by proxy. My statements mere church history and not levied against believers.

        Like

  5. Awe, you’re so sweet Laura.
    Also, were taught at a very early age, maybe even as soon as a child can speak, to pray the Shema, or Shema Yisrael. We recite it in Hebrew. And with my own family now, the prayer I’m on our wall and we teach our children how to recite in Hebrew as well. My mother had us say it, each night. But I think it’s said twice a day. It’s a beautiful prayer – again, we do things that are taught to us from our elder brothers and sisters, the Jewish community. Maybe when you have a minute, you can go ahead and read the prayer in English.

    Like

    • Funny you should say…..I actually have the Shema! You say In Hebrew? Now that’s impressive! Back toward the origins of our faith and it’s singularness, I’ve found it a renewal, enlightenment, more depth, understanding, faceted, fulfilling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, my mother knows only Spanish but the Shema is taught in Hebrew to the children. So, she taught it to us in Hebrew. And I now teach it to my children in Hebrew. But don’t be too impressed, that’s about the only prayer I know in Hebrew. 🤷🏽‍♀️😊
        Absolutely Laura, it all comes back to the origin.
        I’m not Jewish but there are certain customs and traditions that we have kept as they are.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My mother instilled in me since a young age that the Jewish community are our elder brothers and sisters in faith. I see it as being completely ok and beautiful that you’re embracing it into your life. Many blessing to you. 😊🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s