Finding moments of sabbath this summer

Dear Friends,

By the time you get this on Friday, the last school bell of this year will have rung for most every student, signaling for many the beginning of summer. The end of the school year always feels like a marker of something changing – a time to slow down a bit, a time to get away, to move into new rhythms of work and rest. We all know how important rest is for our physical and emotional well-being. And God commands, doesn’t comment or suggest, that we remember the sabbath day, that we take the time to rest. 

Nearly 10 years ago when I worked for Center on Halsted (Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community center), one of the counseling interns in our youth program was part of a Jewish community of young adults that really took sabbath seriously. As the day came to a close on Friday and sunset drew near, she and her peers turned off their phones, hung up their car keys, put away their work, and entered deeply into sabbath – praying, eating, being with friends, attending services, and taking on a new rhythm for those days. She shared with me how important this time was for her to feel restored and ready for the hard work she was doing with youth struggling with mental health issues.

Biblical scholar Renita Weems writes, “The Lord’s Day allows us to bring our souls, our emotions, our senses, our vision, and even our bodies back to God so that God might remember our tattered, broken selves and put our priorities back in order. The Sabbath makes sure we have the time to do what’s really important and be with those we really care about.” (Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey through Silence and Doubt). Observing sabbath is a way to untether ourselves from the relentless demands of overloaded schedules, too many emails, impossible to remember carpooling logistics, and the voice in our head that can taunt us mercilessly that we aren’t keeping up, aren’t good enough.

We are entering a more restful time with our church calendar over the next couple of months with time away for vacation, fewer weeknight activities, and more space to dream, and plan and pray for this amazing community.

How might you create new practices of rest and sabbath this summer? How might you intentionally make time for quiet, for just resting, for prayer, for time with family and friends? 

As school ends and a new season begins, I pray that all of us may find moments of sabbath. See you in church!

All my best,