The world of Covid-19 has dramatically changed what we call “normal life”. Sure our Netflix shows give us a sense of normalcy, but what happens when we have exhausted all of our options for things to watch on a screen? And more importantly, what happens to all the extroverts that are now dealing with an introverts world?
Urgent to do nothing
But this pandemic has brought about a lot deeper musings than arguing between introverts and extroverts. And dare I say, it has brought with it a sense of urgency to do nothing. Yes, an urgent request by everyone involved to sit on your hands, watch your Netflix shows and literally do nothing.
The world that we have created today is a fast paced, upward marching, conquering kingdom that always must be moving. We must be doing something and we must be moving somewhere. Productivity is a staple of our society and the inability to be productive is seen as disastrous or even shameful. There are times we wake up earlier, work harder, accomplish more and we still feel that our day wasn’t productive enough.
But now our whole world has slowed down and we’re forced to sit, to wait and be patient. We’re forced to understand, on a whole new level, what “to be still” and “to rest” means. The phrase “be still” is used in Scripture on eight different occasions, the word “rest” is used 64 times and the word “Sabbath” is used 172 times.
God thought that Sabbath was so important that He put it into the Ten Commandments. Just think on that for a moment. As Moses climbed Mount Sinai to be in the Presence of God on that Holy Mountain, God chose ten laws to give to His people. And God decided that Sabbath held such a profound meaning and would have such a life-giving impact on His people, that He chose to put it in His 10 laws.
Surely God knew that His people needed to slow down. That while being productive is important, it does not and should not take away from the ability to stop and be still.
The question I am currently wrestling with is: How do I Sabbath well?
I really don’t think that God intended His people to Sabbath while watching a whole season of “The Great British Baking Show” in one day. Or by playing video games for 6 hours straight. One of the keys to Sabbath, as God has taught us throughout Scripture, is to get rid of something. The people in the Old Testament and even the Jews in the New Testament had very strict regulations on what they could or couldn’t do on the Sabbath. They intentionally got rid of “stuff” in order to put other things or perhaps other habits in place.
If the first step must be to remove something then the obvious second step would be to replace it with something else. So, what should we be putting into our Sabbath day or what should we be implementing into our lives as we are stuck at home?
Three things to contemplate about Sabbath
The first must be God. God created the world and its structure with all of its complexity, we have to believe that God created the Sabbath for a very important reason. When we start to believe God has our best interests in mind, is when we will take His commands seriously. And I believe we will find life in what God commands. Contemplate God in all His majesty, invite God into your Sabbath.
Second, it has to be different than our everyday schedules. There must be a new routine, a new way of doing life. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but it must be purposeful. There are endless options here, but as long as God is involved I believe He will bring something new and refreshing into your life.
Third, whenever possible, spend some time with someone. If you’re living at home alone during this time of Covid-19 then that may not be possible. But if you’re living with a roommate or have family at home, involve them in your Sabbath. Perhaps have a meal or go on a walk together. Scripture was written in the context of community and I think we have an opportunity to spend some quality time with the people that live with us if we’re intentional about it.
My challenge to myself and the reader: Let’s be intentional about our Sabbath routines and perhaps allow God to teach us, specifically during this time, what Sabbath actually means.