Across Plentylife’s Sabbath Month my one-year-old Labrador puppy and I have established a new routine: every morning at 6:30am we go for a walk. We walk for about forty-five minutes to an hour as the sun rises and the birds awaken and stretch their wings. There are several different routes that we choose from; some take us alongside wetlands while others lead us up hills. Some routes provide us with city views and others allow us to peer into shops. As we go, we see people buying early morning coffees or packing their cars for the workday ahead. We meet some who, like us, are carving out time for an early morning walk and there is one house from which we always hear live piano music.
I love mornings spent outdoors, soaking in the sights and sounds as I anticipate the day ahead. And the puppy loves, well, everything really. I know that as the season changes 6:30am will become darker and colder. But I also know the value of our time spent walking. While we are out and about I talk with God about the things on my heart, I admire the intricacies of nature, I wrestle with concepts from my research. And the puppy? She follows the scents of the dogs who have gone before her, snuffles at bugs in the long dew-tipped grass and, on some routes, eats as much duck poo that she can (okay, maybe that last example provided a little too much information). So come autumn and winter, we won’t be giving up our early morning walks because we know their value. The energy, enrichment and fulfilment that they bring us is worth getting up for, even in the dark and cold.
Even though our Sabbath Month is drawing to a close, Sabbath is here for us all: every month, every week, every day. And once we fully understand the value of resting and abiding with our God – when we understand the energy, enrichment and fulfilment that Sabbath brings – we will embrace this precious gift all the more: every month, every week, every day.
So what will a daily or weekly Sabbath time look like for us beyond January, when our ‘compulsive timetables’ push their way back into our agendas? Will it be adding something into our routine that allows us to immerse ourselves in God’s Word? Listening to a podcast while walking, perhaps, or reclaiming our commute with some worship music? Will we savour a cup of tea and chat with the Lord while our children sleep? Will we play music, draw or cook in a mindful way that allows us communion with God? Will we make the time to tackle that project or try that activity we’ve always wanted to do, the one that will provide us with an avenue for generosity and service in Jesus’s name?
As I am typing this the puppy has come and put her head on my lap and is looking at me with her soulful amber eyes. And I can’t help but think that we can learn a lot from her. She wakes up every morning ready for her Best Day Ever. She never lets an opportunity pass her by…to chase her ball, to splash in the flooded wetland waters, to lick the last morsel from her food dish, to love us all without conditions. And when she needs to rest she simply stretches out and sleeps with abandon, doing so because she trusts that we will keep her safe and provide her with all that she needs. How much more can we trust our God to keep us safe and provide us with all that we need as we rest in Him?
The way we engage with rest and Sabbath will be as diverse as we are, but the key thing is that we make time to do it: every month, every week, every day. And that we rest with Christ at the centre – for our good and for His glory.