As a master’s student, married to another master’s student, I often feel a little bit out of control, like my time is never really my own. I’m always working in service to the next paper, class, professor or class assignment, all the while hoping that if I finally complete my next obligation; maybe, just maybe then I’ll be free to read a book that isn’t required on my syllabus.
Last night Rabbi Moffic shared a phrase that has crept into my weary bones and whispered hope,
“Practicing Sabbath is an act of freedom, for a free person has control over their time.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like a free person when I look at my schedule, I feel like a prisoner, to my education, to my work, to my endless list of things I should get on top of. If anything, I’ve bought into a belief that working harder will one day make me free. I’d never stopped to consider that choosing to practice Sabbath in spite of my to do list, declared my status as a free person in Christ. When we start with freedom, the rest of our week is transformed. I like how Rabbi Moffic put it, “Many of us will find that we can accomplish so much more in 6 days, than we ever could in 7.” I was therefore so grateful, for Rabbi Moffic as he led us through practices for Sabbath Keeping.
The night began with the words of a beautiful prayer from The Roman Missal that I truly believe encapsulates the desire of our Tribe and why we gather every week. As Sunday is not the main event, I hope and pray that each of us could take these words into the rest of our week and make them our prayer each morning–
Father, pour out your Spirit upon you people,
And grant us a new vision of your glory,
A new experience of your power,
A new faithfulness to your Word,
And a new dedication to your service,
That your love may grow among us,
And your kingdom come,
We ask all this through Christ our Lord.
It was also such a wonderful gift to have Troy Hatfield and his talented friends Adam and Marie lead us in worship last night – in particular I loved singing new and different words to the tune of ‘Come thou font,’ such a beautiful collision of formation and innovation being held in the same space. I’m so familiar with the tune, yet as we sang different words, they stood out fresher, deeper and more penetrating as I wrapped my mind around them. In particular I loved the verse;
Let us sing for joy and gladness,
Seeing what our God has done.
Praise the one redeeming glory,
Praise the One who makes us one.
It truly felt to me that we were gathering and worshiping as one, around the One, Jesus Christ who unites and guides us all. We moved through our traditional liturgy together, praying for the world, confessing our sins, receiving assurance, and passing the peace of Christ to one another.
It was then that Rabbi Moffic got up to lead us deeper into how to practice a rhythm of Sabbath. As always, his perspective is so incredibly valuable, his familiarity and insight into Sabbath is so rich and flows out of the fact that he and his community are people who have made Sabbath a priority and who are reaping the beautiful benefits that God intended. You can listen to Rabbi Moffic’s message through our podcast or by clicking here below –
After casting a beautiful vision for what Sabbath is and why we should practice it (Sabbath is Heaven. Sabbath is Freedom. Sabbath is Rest.) Rabbi Moffic led us through seven practical ideas of how we can set Sabbath apart in our practice as separate and holy from the rest of our week:
- Take a walk
- Savor a special meal
- Spend time with someone you love
- Study the Bible
- Light candles
- Turn off your cell phone
- Take a nap
These suggestions are so simple and so practical, yet require so much intentionality to implement. I need to truly believe that I am free from my burden of work in order to exercise freedom and take a walk. Even if our practice begins small, I still believe this rhythm is a powerful practice of heaven, freedom and rest in our faith.
During our practice time we asked each of you to reflect upon the following question:
What are the rhythms & practices I can use to set apart my time of Sabbath as a holy space with God?
How did that journaling time go for you? What practices came to mind? Will you set Sabbath apart through study of God’s word? Through taking a walk? Through investing in those you love?
As I ponder the question, I feel led to try and resist working on homework on the Sabbath. So simple, yet such an act of freedom, heaven, and rest in my student schedule. I hope that each of you can identify something similar that helps you enter deeper into a rhythm of Sabbath.
We ended our time, as we always do. Gathered around Christ’s table for communion and ending with a benediction that sends us back out into the world in light of all we’ve received and learned.
I hope that you may find the courage to taste freedom, heaven, and rest this week. Own and declare the freedom available to you in Christ by practicing a rhythm of Sabbath and may you find that you can accomplish so much more in 6 days, than in 7 by aligning with the rhythm of your Maker.
Peace of Christ be with you,
Jenna and The Practice Team