For me, the Christian Sabbath is God’s gift to his people; a day of rest to engage uniquely with the LORD and all that he has provided that gives life and refreshment; a day of reconnection, remembrance, revival, refreshment, and refocusing; a set apart day of the week, given to Christ’s followers that they might live a holy, rest-filled life of worship. It involves stopping the “to do list” and the taskmaster’s drumbeat of “it’s never enough.” This day’s tone and pace and content … and purpose are all set by the Lord of the Sabbath, who went about doing good, even on the Sabbath, and who desires mercy not sacrifice and brought to us a new measure of liberty, grace, new creation life … and rest.
Of course, I want my entire week to be lived out in rest. Sabbath helps me do so. Of course, I want all 52 weeks of the year to have this same tone. As I think about Sabbath, my prayers tend to be something like this: LORD, help me to leave the normal and enter the holy, setting aside, habitually but not legalistically, a portion of each day, week, and year to rest so that I might in a special way commune with you and feed from you — your Word, your presence, your Creation, Christ in others — so that my entire life may rest in and live from your finished work.
For this pastor, Sundays represent privilege but not rest: the unique opportunity, not given to many, to serve God’s beloved people. Therefore, my “Sunday” normally falls on another day.
Here’s a recent post from Ruth Haley Barton that skillfully joins into the above thoughts. Both pastors and those who pray for them should find it helpful. Ruth is part of The Transforming Center. Their goal? “Strengthening the souls of pastors, Christian leaders, and the congregations and organizations they serve.”
The above linked blog post is summed up well by Palmer, founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal:
A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him/herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good. – Parker Palmer