Once our hot, dry, Waco summers gear up for the long-haul into October, one of my favorite things to do on a summer Sunday is to come home from church and ‘veg-out’ by our swimming pool. While our family spends hot, summer Sunday afternoons in and around the pool, we listen to music and we talk and we browse through magazines and we drink Bush’s iced tea. We like to do basically nothing; summer Sundays afternoons by the pool are “Fisher family Sabbath-time.”
In the Ten Commandments, we tend to remember the more salacious commandments such as “do not kill” and “do not commit adultery.” But there is also the fourth commandment:
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
God commands us to take some time out, to carve out some time that is holy (the word ‘holy’ actually means ‘set apart’). God commands us to set apart some time to say ‘no’ to the computer and the iPhone and the soccer schedules and the calendars that rule our lives. God commands us set apart a day, an hour, a minute – and to keep it holy, wholly set apart.
The rector who was my mentor, the Rev. Beth Fain, is a huge proponent of taking Sabbath-time. She trained me that clergy need one day a week to set apart. Most clergy call this their “day off.” For me, my day off is usually on Thursdays; for Jimmy, it will be Fridays. Many times, I think: “How can I take Thursday off? I have too much to do!” Yet, after my Sabbath day-off, I come back on Fridays with a whole new perspective and outlook on life. God knew what God was doing when even he rested on the seventh day.
This summer, I invite us to re-examine how we set apart time in our lives for Sabbath-time. When do you release yourself from the bondage of the clock? When do you set apart time for God, even if it is only for an hour on Sundays? When do you say ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’?
Whether you spend your Sabbath on the beach this summer or playing tennis or taking painting lessons or watching old movies on cable TV or in prayer in a rocking chair or in a swimming pool with Bush’s iced tea - remember that you are obeying God’s fourth commandment, a commandment to say ‘no.’
This summer, remember the Sabbath - and keep it holy.