Sabbath began with God

Posted Sep 16, 2019

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This week we are memorizing:

Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.

Daily Scripture

Genesis 1:31 – 2:3

31 God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.

There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day.

2:1 The heavens and the earth and all who live in them were completed. 2 On the sixth day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.

Reflection Questions

The creation narrative from Genesis 1:1 through 2:3 reflected the essential rhythm of life. “There was evening and there was morning: the first day” (Genesis 1:5). Six days of work. One day of rest. This daily, weekly, and yearly rhythm of life provided a life structure that centered around stopping, giving thanks to God, resting in God’s mercy and recognizing that what God has created is very good.

  • The ancient rabbis taught that on the seventh day, God created menuha—tranquility, serenity, peace, rest in the deepest possible sense of healing stillness. Until the Sabbath, creation was unfinished. Only after menuha, only with tranquility and rest, was the circle of creation made complete. Does your life rhythm allow “healing stillness”? What practices ground you (or could ground you) into a life filled with that type of holy rhythm?
  • Exodus 31:17 recounted, “In six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day Yahweh rested and was refreshed.” The word for refreshed (naphash) meant to breathe. Take a deep breath. Hold it for a count of four. Exhale for a count of six. Imagine God exhaling peace and tranquility into the world. When and how do you find tranquility or rest? How can God’s gift of sabbath rest help you to be a complete creation?

Prayer

O creator God, sometimes I’m proud of my ability to “keep my nose to the grindstone.” Thank you for reminding me that, from the beginning, rest and renewal are a vital part of a truly human life. Amen.

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Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Melanie Hill

Melanie Hill

Melanie Hill is the Community Life and Small Groups Program Director at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood.

My Least Favorite Word

I’ll keep this short because I know you’re busy. Want to know what my least favorite word is?

It's "busy." And yet I use it all the time.

We live in a culture where we have glorified the state of being busy. It’s one of the most common responses when asked how we are doing, “just keeping busy,” which we often follow up with, “but it’s all good” as if it really were. It would seem that our lives are always packed full with stuff; good stuff, bad stuff, just more… stuff. Our social media feeds are full of articles on how to make space for even more stuff. I loved that mine this week first offered “7 Super Easy Time Management Hacks Guaranteed to Make You A Super Productive Mom” (no pressure) followed by “Realistic Time Management Strategies for Busy Moms.” I haven’t had time to read either one of them.

In the United States we say we "Work hard and play hard." Why does everything need to be so hard? It seems we’re constantly finding ways to squeeze more in and pretending we're happy about it, all the while internally screaming to hit the pause button.

There’s a reason for that. We weren’t meant to live life this way. 

Instinctively we know it, too. For every time management article, you will find one on the benefits of rest in our lives. The science is there. When we create a rhythm of work and rest, we are just simply better people. Our health is better, our relationships improve, and we are more effective and efficient in our work.

So why is it so hard? I believe it’s because we’ve lost the rhythm. When I was in college, I developed shin splints and had to take a break from normal running workouts and spend some time in the pool. Part of the exercise we did was to tread water for a certain amount of time and then take a break by holding onto the side of the pool before starting again. I remember thinking that even towards the end of the time treading water, no matter how tiring it was getting, that I could do it because a rest was coming. The rest was a chance to recover before getting back at it.

That’s what sabbath does for us. Sabbath isn’t an excuse to be lazy. True sabbath sets an expectation that after a good recharge we are headed back into the world to give our very best in helping fulfill the mission of God, wherever that may be. It’s in keeping that rhythm that we produce our best work. When we skip it, we find ourselves just trudging along running on low batteries and pretending everything is great.

Embrace Sabbath. Not just now and again, but as a rhythm in your life.

Put to rest the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. You were made for rest, recovery and reflection, and they are essential parts of embracing who God intended you to be. This week, instead of looking for ways to manage your busyness, spend time planning for your sabbath.

Refuse to fill this day will more stuff and obligations. Instead, fill it catching up with loved ones, going for a walk or taking a nap, and worshiping God. You were made for this.

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