Read this overview
Most people don’t practice Sabbath, at least on any kind of a regular basis. This means most people are missing out on one of the most life-giving practices of the way of Jesus. Because of this, the goal of week one is to start with the basics: set aside a 24 hour time period to rest and worship, mark a beginning and end time, each with a ritual of your own design, and spend the day in Sabbath delight. It sounds easy, but, like all things, it takes practice. So give it time!
Begin with silence and prayer (5 minutes)
Gather together as a community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Say a quick prayer to invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. Then spend a few minutes in silence. Why silence? Because we live in a busy, noisy world, under a non-stop assault of distraction. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s hard at times to hear the voice of God, and that of our brothers and sisters. As we gather together as a family, we want to hear what the Father is saying to and through each of us, and respond in turn. A great way to do that is to begin each time with silence and prayer.
Debrief last week’s practice in small groups (10–15 minutes)
If you are in a community of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender). Spend a few minutes catching up on life...
Then talk about the following debrief questions from last week’s practice:
- Did you listen to the podcast? What did you think?
- Is sabbath already a part of your life, or no?
- Does the idea of practicing sabbath sound good, bad, “legalistic,” freeing?
Open to the Bible together (10 minutes)
Have somebody read Genesis 2v1–3
Talk about the following questions:
- Is the idea of a sabbath new to you? Part of your upbringing? Background? Practice?
- Did you grow up with any kind of a bias against the sabbath?
- Notice that the sabbath takes place in Genesis, long before the “Law.” What does that say about God’s original intention for a day of rest and worship?
- God works and rests. What are the implications of that for people made in his image?
Talk about the coming week’s practice as a community (10–30 minutes)
Here’s the practice for the coming week:
• Mark out a 24 hour time period (or as close as you can) to rest and worship
• Pick a ritual to clearly begin and end your sabbath.
• Ideas to begin:
- Light two candles (symbolic for the two commands to “remember” and “observe” the sabbath.
- Pour a glass of wine (or grape juice for the kids, or the straight edge)
- Read a Psalm or say a liturgy
- Pray: ask the Holy Spirit bring a spirit of rest over your life and lead and guide you through the next 24 hours
- Share a meal with your family or friends
- Go around the table and do “highlight of the week”
• Ideas to end:
- Take a prayer walk
- Read a Psalm
- Thank God for the last 24 hours
- Extinguish the candles of sabbath
- Share a meal
• Spend an entire day in rest and worship: fill your day with activities that are life-giving - eating, drinking, reading the Bible or a good book, making love to your spouse, playing games with your kids, time with family and friends, a walk to the park, napping, prayer, singing, etc.
Discussion questions for the coming week:
1. What day of the week will you Sabbath? Ideas:
- Friday night to Saturday afternoon, starting and ending twenty minutes before Sundown. This is the traditional Jewish Sabbath.
- All day Saturday or Sunday.
- Saturday night through Sunday afternoon, ending with church at Bridgetown.
2. Will your Sabbath start the night before or in the morning? (We recommend the night before)
3. What needs to change in our normal, weekly routine to make sabbath happen?
4. What activities will be restful and worshipful for you?