Exodus 20, 8-11
Something to read
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work - you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
It is very common to hear people complain about tiredness, overwork and stress. The cultural causes are complex and the symptoms manifold. Being busy makes us seem important; adrenaline and speed become addictive; we have an increasing tension about time.
Think of how we talk about time as if it is a commodity – we manage time, buy time, save time, invest time. We even speak as if time is our enemy – time is against me, time is pressing in on me, time weighs heavy, we kill time.
Yet, writes Samuel Wells, ‘Time is a gift, because it is God’s time, not one’s own; and time is a friend, because there is nothing to fear from what God has in store. Time is “on our side”. One cannot buy time with God. One must learn to enjoy God’s time.’
Sabbath is a gift, at the heart of God and His creation – rest for ourselves, for our family, for the land. Sabbath is a gift of time to be with God and with one another; time to build and enjoy healthy relationships with both. Taking a break makes space to make sense of life. Sabbath is a stress-buster.
Something to do
Discipline yourself to make space for yourself and God every day this week and note whether this proves difficult. End by making a deliberate effort to plan and create a very special ‘sabbath’ with time for yourself, for others and for God.
Something to pray
O Lord, my God,
grant us peace;
already, indeed you have made us rich in all things!
Grant us that peace of being at rest,
that Sabbath peace,
the peace which knows no end.
Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.