Sabbath keeping

I was back in action yesterday, leading worship at Western. And it was great to be there. I had not been to a service all month, so it felt really, really good.  

After the service, we ended up going out to eat. And for dinner, my husband and I were still too tired to cook and clean, so we grabbed a couple of sandwiches. This is how it often goes on Sundays (and on Easter, and on Christmas Eve), with two pastors in the family. There’s no one at home, making sure the roast comes out of the oven on time. We get so busy preparing for services, then we get the house, and realize that we have nothing to eat. As an introvert, I love people, but it’s exhausting for me to be in a crowd. On Sunday, I usually just want to (1) read and (2) nap.

I’m making this public confession because I realized this morning that my Sabbath-keeping is all messed up. Taking that particular, holy time has always meant worshiping and resting, but it’s also supposed to mean refraining from consumption. It’s not just rest for us, but rest for the earth.

But the truth is, I probably consume more on Sunday than any other day. It’s a practice that I have neglected, and yet we know that it would be quite good for the environment if all the Christian in our country began to refrain from consumption on our day of rest.

Sadly, for me, rest often means consumption. If my husband and I are not consuming, we’re cooking and doing dishes. I wonder if women in traditional family roles have always had this problem…. But aside from gender, it’s often that way, isn’t it? When we want to go on vacation, when we want to rest from our work, we want to be in a place where we can be waited on, and our rest leads us to consume stuff. 

So, my question is, for pastors, when you celebrate the Sabbath, do you do it on Sunday, or does that feel too much like work? I have one day off, of course, but that’s usually reserved for laundry and cleaning…. And for everyone, do you think about your consumption as a part of keeping that holy day? How do you do it? Crock pots and leaving the dirty dishes? Am I just being too literalistic? Or are dishes and cooking not considered work?

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5 thoughts on “Sabbath keeping

  1. I personally really enjoy cooking–it’s something that makes me happy and calmer, so I tend to do a week’s worth of cooking on my day off. But I confess that I hate washing dishes and cleaning and so I put both of those things off until they *absolutely* have to be done. 🙂

    but Sunday Sabbath time? It’s like a dream, a far off and unrealistic dream, since I am a “program” pastor–I often work 12 hours on Sundays. Thursday morning, Friday all day, and Saturday morning are my time off, and that’s when I read and nap and cook and play silly games on facebook and pet my kitties and call that Sabbath until I can be gone more than one full day in a row.

  2. Sabbath only makes sense to me on a day other than Sunday. Even if we only ‘work til noon’ I often have additional meetings or classes or another service to attend at the church later on Sunday.

    Attending worship as a congregant is not the same as leading worship or working in another staff position.

    Somtimes I manage to be Keeper of the Universe and get something in the crock pot or oven before I leave Sunday mornings, but that is rare. And I carry this crazy guilt that I somehow need to have something special for Easter lunch. That really is crazy since I would have been at church by 6:30 (or sooner) that day!

    What sort of Sabbath makes sense to our congregants today and in light of Scripture? I cannot make that fit in my life on Sunday, so I ‘take’ (it can feel selfish) another day of the week. Sometimes. Except when I decide I am too important or indespensible to take time off.

    Why is my sense of self so tied up in what I do?

    I find I cannot have a Sabbath without preparing for it, but an attitude of Sabbath can come any time we pause to celebrate and be grateful. Yet, the attitude of Sabbath alone is not enough for me.

    I look forward to reading what works for others, and how others have dealt with shedding some of the ‘super mom’ mentality that I use to list the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ in my life – especially on Sundays!

  3. One of my colleagues encourages others to not spend any money on Sundays as a way of practicing sabbath. I like the concept but I’m with you, neither of us want to come home and cook on Sunday – for lunch or dinner! So that means we eat out for lunch.

    I think sabbath keeping does require some prep time and I’m doing better at that – slowly.

    I’m trying to make Sunday evening/Mon-day my sabbath. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is a study day, sometimes it is an errand day, sometimes it is a complete and total slug day!

    I’m looking forward to the conversation.

  4. Same here.

    My mother made “Sunday dinner” every weekend, timing the roast and veggie casseroles so that dinner would be ready when we returned from church. Nice.

    We can’t do the home cooked dinner on Sundays.

    Last Sunday, we met (two pastors with two churches) at Ruby Tuesdays with the kids, out of town guests, and someone who showed up in worship whom I baptized 22 years ago. Ruby Tuesdays is hardly a “nice” dinner or particularly Sabbath-y, but it was nice not to have to work on family things – like cooking.

    My day off/Sabbath is on Wednesday and/or Fridays. I am a cranky witch w/o it.

  5. Us too. Frozen pizza has become our unfortunate Sunday-afternoon tradition. And Easter is the absolute worst. By that point in Holy Week, there is nothing to cook, even if we had the energy. This year we had family stop by unexpectedly, and we couldn’t even get sandwiches put together.

    Sabbath has to come on some other day, but I don’t do it well…it usually comes in bits and pieces through the week.

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