A True Sabbath

Dear all

There is a much loved hymn which has often been claimed to be one of the country’s favourite which is called ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ … ‘forgive our foolish ways’. It is a beautiful hymn with lovely words which are very gentle and calming. One of the lines I really like begins ‘O Sabbath rest by Galilee, O calm of hills above’ to me sounds perfect! I will be taking some time off the first part of this month of August and am looking forward at some point to some rest and relaxation. I say at some point, because the first part of the holiday involves going to Eurodisney with our grandchildren! Well they say a change is as good as a rest don’t they, despite the fact that the temperatures are once again set to soar here and in France. I am hoping Disney have installed some innovative ways of keeping their visitors cool whilst standing and waiting in the heat for the next ride. Or even perhaps there will be a welcome water spray.

I like the idea of Sabbath time though and this is meant to be taken on a regular basis, not all stored up to be taken on an annual holiday. Sunday, the seventh day has been thought of as being the Sabbath Day, a day of rest for all in latter times. Now though, with the convenience of Sunday trading Sundays have become a different sort of day altogether and a day which is so important to families. Sunday is more of a catching up day for a lot of people. If you are working all week, Sunday is a day when household chores need to be done possibly. Children have activities like football and cricket, not to mention dance, swimming and all manner of other exciting clubs to go to. Friends and relatives need to be seen and their company enjoyed which of course is all part of the Sabbath activities. The only trouble with all of this though is that all these lovely activities cause busyness and require planning quite often. A true Sabbath and this is probably not going to be a Sunday, is about rest and refreshment, allowing us to catch our breath, to re-engage with the things that give us life but which calm any anxieties and stresses. A time to reflect and a time to engage with God through the beauty of the created world or to think about what is important to us; seeking a fresh perspective on things. Would you like such a time? I know I would! As life for some gets ever busier and faster, a Sabbath rest is more and more important. Then when might you get that opportunity? It may be taken at various times throughout the week; it may be walking the dog, or doing the garden. Think about when you might get those precious times and thank God for them! As the country’s favourite hymn says:

‘Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease;

take from our souls the strain and stress,

and let our ordered lives confess

the beauty of thy peace.’

Amen to that!

With my love and prayers

Revd Liz