Sabbath is a time set aside every week for the practice of Shalom. It is a Hebrew word that means something like peace, but more so. Shalom is like being held by God, hugged by God, in a way that makes us feel whole, healthy and, maybe even holy. Sabbath is a time to know ourselves as the person that God intends us to be.
Sabbath requires intentionality. It is a discipline, and as such, only comes into being through our planning and implementation. I have heard it said that the three days leading up to Sabbath are times of preparation, and the three days following Sabbath are times of remembering, and Sabbath itself, is a day of being who God made us to be.
There are four components or pillars of Sabbath: beauty, holy time, feasting and play.
Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote: “God’s beauty is God’s power to attract, to give pleasure, to create desire, to awaken joy and wonder.” This is what we seek on Sabbath, to touch that which gives pleasure, creates desire, and awakens joy and wonder. It may be a walk in nature or painting or even going to an art gallery. Plan the pursuit of beauty into your Sabbath.
Holy time is time set aside for adoration and consideration. Church worship and/ or private devotion is a part of Sabbath, as is study, particularly of holy texts, as well as considering your life. Journaling is one way to do this. Another is intentional time with a dear friend reflecting on predetermined question about life. Napping is another way to enter into holy time. The point of the pursuit is this holy time is to set aside an intentional period each Sabbath to engage with God.
Feasting is a key function of Sabbath. This means planning a meal, making it together, putting it on the best china, decorating the table with flowers, wearing your good clothes, and inviting others to join you. Do the preparation early. Have the grocery shopping done. And then enter into the Sabbath feast.
Finally, play on your Sabbath day. That might mean a bit of gardening or singing or painting or pick-up football. It may even mean some intimate time with your spouse. Play opens our hearts and minds to one another, and it cultivates a spirit of creativity, passion, and purpose, all while having fun. Make play a pillar of your Sabbath.
The key point to creating a rejuvenating Sabbath is the planning within the parameters of the four pillars. It takes time and practice to get good at Sabbath, and that is part of what we do here at Epiphany.