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Finding God in the Story of Your Life

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity

Hey, it’s Free Book Friday. Because we’re focusing on Sabbath this month (although Living in Sabbath Simplicity is a topic we discuss frequently here), here’s an excerpt from my book Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity, from the chapter on Jesus and Sabbath. You can win a copy by leaving a comment. If you share this on Twitter and/or Facebook, leave a comment letting me know–that gives you an extra entry in the drawing!

Here’s the excerpt:

“As he did with all of Jewish traditional law, Jesus changed the outward expression of Sabbath, but did not change its inner spirit, its purpose—to point us toward God. Jesus often healed people on the Sabbath, confounding the legalists of his day—surely healing constituted work, didn’t it?

But those afflicted with disease not only suffered the pain of their infirmity, but they were disconnected from community. The man with the withered hand, the woman bent over, any number of others who received his healing touch would have been isolated—considered unclean, they would not have been able to participate in the life of the synagogue. No one would touch them, because to do so would render that person unclean as well. Jesus restores their physical health, not just to alleviate their physical pain, but as a means of restoring them to community—which was a way of restoring them spiritually. And it is this spiritual reconnection and restoration that Sabbath practice provides.

For Jesus, Sabbath provided an opportunity to heal, to restore, to renew, to invite those who’d been left out back into the kingdom. Jesus’ self-declared mission on earth was this: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recover of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

In his Sabbath actions and teachings, Jesus fulfilled this mission of bringing freedom. And he proclaimed the kingdom of God was not just for rule-keepers—he was flinging open the gates of heaven, demonstrating a radical inclusiveness. That is the heart of Sabbath—it is a gift for all people, if only we would choose to receive it. ”

Okay, to win a copy of Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity, leave a comment with your thoughts, questions or response to the idea of  living in Sabbath Simplicity. Deadline is 5 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 4).  We’ll announce the winner on Monday (because part of my Sabbath practice is NO COMPUTER on Sunday!) And the drawing is open to U.S. residents only.

9 Comments

  1. Love that last paragraph — “And he proclaimed the kingdom of God was not just for rule-keepers—he was flinging open the gates of heaven, demonstrating a radical inclusiveness. That is the heart of Sabbath—it is a gift for all people, if only we would choose to receive it. ”

    This Author rocks, anyway — I love all of her writings.

  2. I think as Christians we conform to an overload mentality and adapt(by choice) to the go, do, go world around us. I am guilty of this. How refreshed spiritually, mentally and physically we would be if we allowed ourselves to *practice* Sabbath.

  3. Point Loma Nazarene University’s Viewpoint Magazine came to us a couple weeks ago and its emphasis is on Reclaiming Sabbath … It had some refreshing views of Sabbath just as you do in your excerpt. I have come to realize that I am actually in a Sabbath season in my life – temporarily not working – but have crammed it full of “good” or “postponed” tasks. I’m not doing well at claiming my Sabbath period, and perhaps I need to start with an actual day. I am going to declare a Sabbath day for myself Monday, August 6 and will … take a walk in nature; read; get back to memorizing that Psalm I started on months ago; light candles; pray; think about what it means to heal, restore, and renew.

  4. This isn’t really a Sabbath comment, but about Jesus touching the untouchable: Can you imagine what the leper must have felt when Jesus reached out to touch him? Not only was it probably the leper’s first physical contact with another human being in ages, it was the Perfect Touch, one that fulfilled not only his physical need for healing but all the emotional and mental and other types of needs we find fulfilled in a loving touch. And this one was from the Person who loves – and touches us – perfectly.

    This side of heaven, I don’t know that I’ll ever experience what that leper felt. One more thing I get to look forward to.

    Tim

    P.S. This comment is NOT an entry into the book giveaway, since you already let me win one already, woo-hoo!

  5. This book has been on my wishlist for awhile. Living in Sabbath Simplicity is a practice I want to make a priority…especially the unplugging part!

  6. I just found your site from an artice at Leadership Journal. I would love to win a copy of your book – and then also share it with a friend. Thanks for the chance to win!

  7. I forgot to mention that I have no ideas. I struggle with the need for rest but also want to minister an use the Sabbath to do good.

  8. Even without children at home anymore, I strive for Sabbath Simplicity. I also want to embrace this “sabbath” time in my life as well. Jesus calls for us to slow down and go deeper into relationship with him and I am endeavoring to do this. I appreciate you sharing this chapter with us and also your other writings on the subject.

  9. And our winner is…(drumroll, please….) Ann!!
    We’ll do another drawing this Friday, and if you’ve commented, you’re still in the running for that drawing! So check back. If you leave another comment next Friday, you’ll have two entries, which will increase your odds of winning!
    Ann, email me your mailing address.
    Keri

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