Sunday, 11 November 2007

Keep Sunday special?

“… rather than fighting a rearguard action to keep Sunday special, it might be better to consider how you can build some Sabbath time into the schedules and rhythms of the life you have. These are the disciplines of slowing down and shutting up… They are the recovery of Sabbath, the creation of a place of rest where joy and contentment can flourish.”
Stephen Cottrell

This quotation seems to sum up the essence of what a modern day Sabbath should be about. We need to avoid the legalism that is often associated with Sabbath-keeping – and the ‘Keep Sunday Special’ campaign. However, we also need to find ways to gain the benefits of Sabbath habits.

Some suggestions from my own experience and feelings at this time include the following:

  • Avoid using your chosen Sabbath day to catch up with chores. Make sure that the chores are planned for other days.

  • Spend time positively with God. In my case, that usually includes going to church (more of that in a wee while), but it also involves some time of reflection, reviewing the week, and thinking about areas of Bible study, theology etc that I want to think through in the week ahead.

  • Going to church. To be honest, this can be a chore at times. But having recognised this, find a way to address it – find something positive and revel in that. Recently, we have started giving an older person a lift to church. Her faithfulness is an inspiration, and spending time with her is something positive in our church experience.

  • Most of all relax. Use the time available wisely for re-creation, for reflection, for friends and family. Do things that you enjoy, rather than things that you feel compelled to do.

When I was at university, the Student Counsellor advocated having one and a half days a week free from study. This would typically include Wednesday afternoon, when there were no lectures or tutorials, and many of us participated in sport – or other clubs. (In my case this included a group called the Malt-esers, which is a tale for another day!) Anyway, the counsellor’s advice struck me as being entirely sensible. Firstly, I didn’t need too much encouragement to stop studying. More importantly I recognised the value of some time to recharge the batteries, and although I haven’t always managed to heed the advice, it has always stayed with me.


Brian Robertson said...

There is a cambridge organisation called Keep Sunday Special. Google it?

His Girl Friday said...

Interesting post, ER. We've been playing 'hooky' from church for some time now, due to a few reasons. However, it is important to stay in fellowship with others which we have. Having to work Sundays quite often, I find it difficult to have 'a Sabbath', but in the hectic day to day, it is good to just stop, reflect, and listen. :)