Lazy Sunday? Sunday Funday? Sabbath?

‘We need a healthy balance between being with God and doing for God.’

Andrew Cherrie, Glow Church UK

Last weekend I listened to a message from Andrew Cherrie.  He spoke about how society focuses on what we do not who we are. He also reminded us that if we haven’t spent time with Jesus we won’t be at our best.  ‘We need a healthy balance between being with God and doing for God.’

I wonder how many of us managed to take a Sabbath this weekend?  Many church employees choose to take either Friday or Monday as their Sabbath.  What about those who volunteer many hours on a Sunday, serving on kids’, coffee, set-up, or worship teams, then work a 5 or 6-day week in their regular jobs?  I’d love to know whether you consider Sunday to be your day of rest, or whether you take another day or half-day later in the week.

I asked one of the team about this topic and she shared her journey:

I don’t like rules, I always push against them to find a way through.  Hearing the generation above me talk, they could not do anything on a Sunday. No football, no games, no shopping or washing clothes. All you could do was go to church.  They followed this rule about Sundays or Sabbaths.

As I grew up things changed. Shops began to be open on Sunday (well actually, you could shop 24 hours a day). You could do anything at any time. Life seemed to get busier. My life got busier. You could do anything any time so I did.

Then at the Activate weekend in January 2020, someone told me about this amazing book they read and what an unbelievable difference it was making to them.  It’s called ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’ by John Mark Comer. They were changing the way they lived because of this book. They took a day off, yes a day off each week! A Sabbath. They turned their phones off, all gadgets off. They did no work. They rested and only did things to relax.  It sounded great.  I was jealous, that sounds awesome!  But there is no way for me. It’s impossible. Alright for some!

I bought the book, I really wanted to read it but was so busy I never got to it. Then the pandemic hit. I saw the book and decided to read it. I wanted to know what it was offering. You know how I hate rules! Well, I saw the idea of the Sabbath from a whole different perspective. The Sabbath was not taking away, stopping, robbing.  The idea of Sabbath was permission to stop, to rest. It was an invitation to just be. Not to have to be productive, doing and juggling.  Not to be measured by my activity but to be, to rest, to relax to enjoy. So I spoke to my husband about it. We looked into what this might look like and began to make changes. To plan a day off, each week. To give ourselves permission not to work. To rest, relax do things that bring joy. To pause.  Its been eye-opening. It’s given me perspective.  In the pause, I see who I am.  God comes close. Sabbath was given as a gift for me to enjoy. We look forward to them.

Hayley Nock

It seems that current culture embraces ‘Sunday Funday’.  Long walks, long lunches, family adventures or treats.  Also popular are ‘Lazy Sundays’: Netflix binges, lounging around or long baths seem to be favourite activities. For others, ‘A Sunday well spent brings a week of content’.  Influencers and go-getters love to meal prep and do all their personal admin so they can get ahead for a week of success.

People are getting better at taking a day to relax and recharge, but is this enough?  Does this kind of ‘chill’ day constitute a Sabbath?  And are Christians the worst at taking a day of rest?  For Hayley, it was an important routine to pick up.

In Mark 2:24-28 Jesus points out that the Sabbath is not meant to be restrictive and religious; it’s a gift:

Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

Mark 2:27-28

Here are five practical steps from Andrew Cherrie’s message to help us be intentional about drawing closer to God on any day of the week:

  1. Make a radical decision to end your addiction to being constantly on the move
  2. Get comfortable with your feelings (it’s OK to feel down) but don’t be led by your emotions
  3. Integrate silence
  4. Turn off distractions/notifications when you pray
  5. Commune with Jesus throughout the day

Also, the 365 undated devotions in our Activate book, Be: Godly Wisdom to Live By will help you build a routine and focus on who you are, not what you are.

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