Monday, June 29, 2009

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent

I have tried to be consistent in observing the Sabbath, honest I have. Yet, my problem seems to be the same issue many confront when tackling this commandment. How? What am I suppose to do or more important, not do, while observing the day? Face it. Observation of the Sabbath has a negative undertone simply because there are so many unspoken rules and they vary person to person. Don’t work. Don’t watch television. Don’t cook. Don’t ride in the car. It ends up being a confining day which is the opposite of Gods intent.

That is why I can admit when I received Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, Living in Sabbath Simplicity I was very skeptical. Here we go again. More rules and regulations, and now add to it simplifying my life. Does she not get that we live in a world rotating 24/7, where little slows down let alone simplifies? When I did open the cover and as I began to read, I was not only enlightened but relieved to learn that what observing the Sabbath boiled down to was a respite and mini-vacation for me. Kent clarified what the day is and that helped determine how I would spend my Sabbath. As she points out, there is no one set way to do so. It’s as individual as each persons thumb print.

Consider the following as it applies to setting aside your Sabbath time:
*Keeping the day “holy” doesn’t mean making it religious. It means the day is set apart and different.

*Setting up evening down times is a step in the right direction as we attempt to stop for a whole day. Using the “Hebrew Day Planner” may help. 6 AM-6 PM was time designated for work. 6 PM-10PM was designated as time for relationships (family) and 10 PM-6 AM was time allotted for rest and sleep.

*Keeping the Sabbath is remembering that we are free and not enslaved. It is a day to be thankful that we can stop and rest and not labor as our ancestors did seven days a week under the rule of the Egyptians. It’s also a day to think of those still bound to someone or thing.

*It doesn’t matter if you observe the Sabbath on the last day of the week or the first. As times and modern culture has changed, so have the expectations and requirements of Sabbath observation. Simply speaking, just do it. What day you observe isn’t as important as participating in the observance.

*Learn to say no. If you live a lifestyle of knowing your boundaries and staying within them, it will make it easier to say no to demands that fall on your day of rest.

*Don’t get stuck in the legalism of the day. Make it a personal ritual and leave it at that.

*Pray. Enjoy the attention of God. Speak, listen and receive love from him.

It’s not as complicated as we’ve been led to believe. It’s about rest and even having fun. Do what you enjoy doing. Spend time doing it with the ones you love. Pray and meditate on how fortunate we are to have the privilege to yes, unplug and stop in our over stimulated world. As the Tao Te Ching says “Who is it that can make the muddy water clear? But if allowed to remain still, it will gradually become clear of itself”.

When Jesus walked the earth, he did everything in his power to help others on the Sabbath. To him, it was about reviving in the form of healing. He knew that as humans, we needed it and he went out of his way to demonstrate how important restoration is. I realize after reading Kent’s book that restoration is a powerful gift and one at our disposal every week. When we are tempted to say we are too busy and make one of a million excuses why we can’t, we know we are the very ones that need it the most.

How? Just do it.

Reviewed by ~Mary

Keri worked as a reporter for 8 years before writing her first book and is the author of several books, including Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life (Revell) and Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life (Jossey-Bass). When she’s not busy traveling around the country to speak and lead retreats, she’s writing. She’s a regular contributor to several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman, MomSense and Outreach magazine, as well as several websites and blogs. She’s a member of Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups and volunteered in a variety of ministries over the last 21 years. Visit Kent's website to learn more

See what other bloggers are saying about Kent's book by visiting The Tour Spot.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310285976
ISBN-13: 978-0310285977
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
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