Take a Sabbath

Susan Hetrick

Read: Luke 4:16-21

And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day . . . (v. 16)

Jesus was Jewish, and he faithfully went to synagogue every Sabbath to worship God and hear the Scriptures being read. For those who did not live near the Jerusalem temple, the synagogue was the center of Jewish religious life.

Sabbath meetings all followed a similar format. There was a confession of faith, known as the Shema (Deut. 6:4-6), prayers, readings from the Law and the Prophets in Hebrew (followed by a translation into the local language), a sermon, singing psalms, and a blessing. The rest of the day was spent with family, and no work was done on the Sabbath.

Jesus reminds us that Sabbath is a gift from God (Matt. 12:1-12). It is a day for resting and nurturing relationships with God and other people. And it doesn’t only have to be on a Sunday.

I have a friend who has designated Wednesdays as her Sabbath. She turns off her computer and cell phone, and doesn’t even think about work for 24 hours. She spends the day reading, praying, walking outdoors, or creating art. She relaxes and has fun, with the purpose of glorifying God! She says practicing Sabbath has changed her life. Not only is she more focused, but her spiritual life is much deeper. Can you take a Sabbath each week? What would it take for you to “unplug” for a day? —Susan Hetrick

Prayer: Lord, you gave us the Sabbath as a gift. Help me accept this gift, and take a day off to rest in you.