My Sabbath Practice - The heart of my week

Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self.
— Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath, 13

Time and Place

  • Sabbath begins on Sunday afternoon after I am finished teaching/visiting with my congregation and continues until Tuesday when I wake up.

  • During that time I do not drive or go anywhere. I stay home.

It is a day in which we abandon our plebeian pursuits and reclaim our authentic state, in which we may partake of a blessedness in which we are what we are, regardless of whether we are learned or not, of whether our career is a success or a failure; it is a day of independence of social conditions.
— Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath, 30.

What We Like to Do On the Sabbath

  • We hang out, paint, read, wander around the property, walk, no hiking, take long baths, make love, sing, make music but don’t record it, swim in summer, stare into the fire in winter, nap a lot – especially in the hammock, even in the cold weather with a big duvet, just the best sleeps ever.

  • In the good weather I will spend time in the garden puttering, gathering flowers, deadheading and gathering food for our meals, visiting with all the beds to say hello, but not working in the dirt.

The solution of mankind’s most vexing problem will not be found in renouncing technical civilization, but in attaining some degree of independence of it.
— Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath, 28

 What We Don’t Do

  • No technology. No checking emails. Computers off. Land line phone off.  One cell phone left on for emergencies from family and church.  Everyone who knows us well knows not to call on our Sabbath unless it is important. The children, of course, can call anytime because that is always a pleasure.  I do use the camera, however, as Sabbath is the time I will take pictures, something I don't generally do during the week. And lately, we sometimes read from our IPad and Kindle if we have our books on them, though this is not our preference. 
  • Meal preparation is simple – no fancy cooking, just delicious food my husband and i prepare/assemble together.

  • No housework or heavy gardening of any kind.

  • We have discovered that it is important to have some 'NO's because it is amazing how quickly you can slip into working/tidying/fixing. When you have a NO in place, you can easily be reminded when you slip into weekly thinking/doing that 'no, it's the Sabbath.' And there comes this wonderful release from the reminder, as though you had forgotten it was Christmas morning and then someone reminded you. Gentle correction when one falls into old habits of fussing always arrives like a wonderful gift. 

The Sabbath is no time for personal anxiety or care, for any activity that might dampen the spirit of joy. The Sabbath is no time to remember sins, to confess, to repent or even to pray for relief or anything we might need. It is a day for praise, not a day for petitions. Fasting, mourning, demonstrations of grief are forbidden.
— Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath, 30

Some Other Basic Rules

  • If I have ideas about something, I will jot them down, but no long writing or school work/ministerial work, (on instruction from Rabbi Heschel).

  • Wonderful conversations, ones that edify, explore dreams and wonders, refreshing conversation, no limit on laughter!

  • Topics Not Allowed on The Sabbath, very serious about this: finances, the wellbeing of the children, the church, or the community, politics, the state of the world (all hot topics during the week engendering noisy conversation).

  • Visitors, including our children, who come on our Sabbath, are always welcome. They know what to do and just blend in and follow our lead. Visitors generally come on Sunday afternoon/evening and then Monday is very quiet. 

Sabbath is not a date but an atmosphere. For the Sabbath is a day of harmony and peace, peace between man and man, peace within man, and peace with all things. . . . The Sabbath is more than an armistice, more than an interlude; it is a profound conscious harmony of man and the world, a sympathy for all things and
a participation in the spirit that unites what is below and what is above.
— Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath, 30

what Sabbath is for me

Delight. Rest. Joyfulness. Laughter. Love. Happiness. Sacredness. Pleasure.

Bounty. Generosity. Sweetness. Beauty. renewal. restoration. resurrection of my soul

it is the heart of my week. I am lost without it.