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Cherishing the Sabbath

by UNC Contributor
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
 

It’s a late Sabbath evening in mid-July and I’m looking out my patio door feeling a little melancholy. It’s nearing the end of another Sabbath and my special time with God is almost over.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the other days of the week too. As Christians, we should appreciate all the days of our physical lives. This life is our window of opportunity to work diligently the other six days of the week to prepare for God’s Kingdom to come. But the Sabbath is a time to renew our mind, body and spirit. It’s no wonder that Jesus said that the Sabbath was “made for man.” God knew the importance of this slow-down period of the week for renewal and reflection.

I must admit though, I have to celebrate the Sabbath in a little different way than people in areas living close to a Church. I live in an area of Canada where there is no UCG congregation anywhere near me. The closest congregation is 450 km away in St. John’s, Newfoundland. My area is a Sunday keeping world. But I’m not deterred. The Sabbath is my rest that allows me that time of refreshment and enables me to face the challenges in my job as a school principal.

What sort of things do you do, one might ask, when there is no congregation with whom to fellowship?

A typical Sabbath day for me starts with prayer and Bible reading. (I particularly like the new Bible Reading Program on the UCG’s website.) The rest of the day may see me spending time with the family by going for a drive along a country road or a walk in the woods. It’s the walk through the forest that I get opportunities for “teachable moments” with my daughter about the wonders of God’s great creation. The rest of the day may include a afternoon nap after listening to Gary Petty on one of UCG’s sermon broadcast on the internet. Some Sabbaths I may visit a friend or the elders in my community. (It’s amazing how much seniors can teach us and how much wisdom they can offer.) Sometimes my wife and I take this opportunity to spend some quality time together. This summer we’ve had some lovely picnics on the beach where we sit and talk and appreciate each other’s company.

However, on this day in mid-July, I just finished a wonderful Sabbath hike along the beach, and as I stare across the bay from my patio, I’m reflecting on a wonderful day I’ve had with my Creator. Earlier in the day I packed a lunch and rode my bike about five kilometres along a rough path to the seashore. From there I walked about an hour to my favourite spot on the rocks and ate my dinner.

After doing a little sightseeing through my binoculars (today I spotted a humpback whale), I settled in for a time of reading. I brought an issue of the Good News magazine. The blessed sunshine forces me to seek shade and my afternoon low called for a nap on the cool sand. I woke up at the sound of seagulls, feeling refreshed and grateful. I spent some time in prayer and meditation before heading back home feeling uplifted and rejuvenated on this wonderful Sabbath day.

I take another sip of my iced tea and glance at my watch. I still have another hour or so to go before sunset. I think I will finish reading another article and really “top off” this glorious Sabbath.

Sabbath
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