Seeking Sabbath

Fourth Sunday

What a busy day this has been. And it’s Sunday, otherwise knows as the Sabbath. I haven’t done anything but go to church, rehearse with the choir, sing in the service, and drive from there to a rehab facility where we bring “church” once a month. And we have small group yet to go. All these things are without question worth doing and rewarding, but why did I insist on doing all of them? How could I reclaim the Sabbath for myself?

I love how the Message translates Matthew 11:28-30, and I can relate: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

This sounds so inviting, and reflects how I want to live. Does it sound too good to be true? Every so often we all will have days that are just nonstop, from the moment our feet hit the floor. That happened to me today when I overslept and didn’t have my morning meditation with God. What I did instead was pray as I went and “practice the presence” of God. This was the life theme of a 17th century monk, Brother Lawrence, who desired to live at all times within the presence of God. He called it “practicing the presence.” It’s really about awareness, being mindful of God’s presence with us at all times, doing all tasks for his glory, no matter how mundane, to communing with him in word and in spirit as we go throughout our day. Prayer doesn’t always require words. It can be an intention of the heart to draw near to him.

Today’s prayer practice: Practice the Presence. What do you feel as you read the passage above? Take that into your quiet time. Remind yourself that God is with you. As the day unfolds, take as your intention to work as though everything you do is for the kingdom. Remind yourself frequently that God is with you. Look to him and look for him in the details of your life, your conversations, your work. At the end of the day, notice where you saw his handiwork. Thank him for his presence with you.

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