by Marilynn Chadwick All three of our now grown children especially looked forward to the end of our Day Off, which they referred to as “Family Home Night.” These were weekly times of shared togetherness at the close of Sabbath and included special movies, family prayers, Bible stories, and make-your-own-pizzas. The movies we selected didn’t always have a spiritual message, but they helped reinforce a value or character quality such as perseverance, compassion, kindness, or courage. Our family movies often launched spontaneous times of talking, sharing, laughing, and dreaming. The kids seemed to take this time to heart. Early on, we decided Family Home Night was not a “friend-sleepover night,” but no one seemed to mind. They grew to eagerly anticipate the much-needed space set aside for rest and time with just our family. They felt renewed by the safe haven of home. Refreshed, they were ready to reenter the fray. I have found that Sabbath and giving space to share stories seem to go together. This was especially evident during our mission trips to other cultures. There, life moves at a slower pace. There, we forget our to-do list and welcome the unexpected. This is often the case in places where war or suffering have torn the people and their land. I remember the young Rwandan mother, a survivor of the horrific genocide. She shared her story of pain after our worship service together. I was amazed by her courage and strength. She said, “It is good to know you have not forgotten us.” We kept in touch for years, but it was Sabbath-keeping that opened the door for our shared stories and friendship. Sabbath goes against the grain of a world that is too busy to care. Sabbath is life in slower motion. For this reason, Sabbath lends itself to sharing our stories, fears, burdens, testimonies, hopes and dreams. We were not created to experience Sabbath in isolation. I wonder if biblical Sabbath-keeping could become a powerful counter-cultural strategy in a world which thirsts for freedom from overwork, idolatry, and isolation. In a world that desperately needs shalom. A few questions to get you thinking. You may want to experiment until you find the rhythm of rest that works best for you or your family.
How often does your family take a day off where you don’t do work, housework, or yard work?
Describe the perfect day off. Where would you go and with whom? Is there a nearby park or hiking trail you enjoy?
What activities do you and your family enjoy at home together? What activities do you enjoy doing alone? Would you invite a friend to join you in the activity?
What are some good movies or books you could reserve for your weekly “Day Off?” Are there special treats could you plan ahead? Ideas: Make your own pizza; popcorn with sea salt and coconut oil, drizzled with dark chocolate. Think of fun snacks that don’t require much preparation.
Are you one who enjoys cooking or is “Door Dash” your new best friend? How can you plan a special meal ahead of time that you or your family would enjoy on your day off?
What gets in the way of taking a day off each week? Conflicting job schedules, family members with different routines, kids’ sports? Are there changes that would help?
What are creative ways you or your family could read the Bible and pray together on your day off—maybe over a cup of specialty coffee in a nearby park or quiet setting?
What is your most significant “takeaway” from the teachings on Sabbath? Is there one change you can make today to begin to enjoy God’s gift of rest?