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I am excited to share with you my review of Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller. Shelly is a veteran ministry leader and leads the Sabbath Society, an online community of people who want to make rest a priority.
Her writing has been featured in publications internationally. Shelly and her husband recently moved from the U.S. to London, England, where they resource church planting efforts. Learn more about Shelly at her web site.
Why Are You Holding This Book?
“Are you weary and heavy laden? Are you tired? Come, he says. I will show you my ways. I will give you true rest. This, I suggest, is why you’re holding this book now: to hear that voice, and heed it.” We read this in the forward by Mark Buchanan.
Let me share what I learned about Sabbath as I read this wonderful book:
“Isn’t this how we long to approach the weekend, satisfied with our work and ready for relaxation? Unfortunately, contentment in work that lends permission to rest seems elusive. Our work is never fully finished. And that’s why we don’t allow time for rest.”
It is difficult to unplug! We or I should say, I need to give myself permission to unplug. My work will be there on Monday when I return. During my centering prayer practice I ever so gently ‘let go’ with the use of my sacred interior icon. I need to do the same thing as I approach the weekend. I must ‘let go’ of the past week and not worry about what I will face the upcoming week. I need to give myself permission to rest!
Guilt: A Roadblock
“Guilt is one of the main road blocks for making Sabbath a reality.” There is too much work that needs to get done. I need to catch up on work emails. I must clean the house. I have to write or read.
God does not wish me to feel guilty. God has given me the Sabbath as a gift. You must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you. (Exodus 16.29)
Jesus Is Sabbath
“Jesus is Sabbath.” What a simple but true statement! Let me say it again. Jesus is Sabbath! Wow! During my centering prayer practice I ever so gently let go of all thoughts, emotions and even physical sensations. I sit with Jesus and rest. During centering prayer Jesus is my Sabbath.
During centering prayer I let Jesus be my Sabbath. “Sabbath is weekly preparation and anticipation for making space in our lives for Christ to come.” This is what I do during centering prayer. I make space for Christ to come!
“What Can I Do For You?”
“When you are tired, depleted, worn out, and weary, imagine Jesus asking, “what do you want me to do for you?” I often forget to do this. Jesus wants me to release my burdens and worries to him. Jesus loves me! Jesus wants to know what he can do for me. Jesus says come sit silently with me and I will give you the rest you need.
“Most of us don’t spend time thinking about how a day of rest might look in a busy week.” Even if I cannot take a full day, what will two or three hours of rest look like? I might turn off my cell phone, iPad and computer. I can sip coffee and talk with my wife. I might enjoy a good movie with the children.
It is spring, let’s take a leisurely walk in the neighborhood. I might just sit in the family room and let the kids come in and out and talk to me as they please. “Laugh, play, watch a movie, and give yourself permission for feasting.” What will you do with a day or even a few hours of rest?
The Life Raft
“Sabbath is a life raft Jesus extends to us every week to prevent us from drowning in our work.” Do you accept this invitation? My centering prayer practice is a daily raft that Jesus extends to me. In the middle of the work day I stop what I do. It does not matter how busy I am. I walk to my car and take a silent sit. I return to my desk refreshed. I am ready to finish the day. I no longer feel like I am drowned in my work.
Christ Will Rise Within
“We must rest in order for him to rise within us.” This is what happens when we take the time for Sabbath. This is what happens when I take the time to sit with Jesus during my centering prayer practice. The Christ within is love and compassion in action during my non-Sabbath times. It is during Sabbath and centering prayer that I am refreshed and refilled with Christ’s love that is ready to be shared with others.
“Have you trained yourself to pause? Do you pay attention to your heart, warning you it’s time to slow down?” This is so important! Why is it important? “When I give time away to God first, I have the capacity to give myself and resources away to others joyfully.”
I will go back and re read this beautiful book. I am sure I will discover new ways to appreciate the gift of Sabbath that God has given to me. “Jesus is Sabbath.” Let me say it once again, Jesus is Sabbath!
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain. It also works well in group studies too.
Listen to Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. Also works well in group studies.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright.
Discover the Context, Content & Production of the New Testament in The Bible- An Introduction to the New Testament by Scott Metz.
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