I LOVED this book. Wayne Muller discusses several aspects of Sabbath, such as Rest, Rhythm, Time, Happiness, Wisdom, and Consecration. He also gives practices at the end of each chapter, which I enjoyed. I always appreciate a practical way to put things into action.
When I read the first chapter of this book, I was underlining almost everything…it just made so much sense to me and over and over I thought, “I want this.” Now, after finishing the book, I feel completely equipped and excited to bring these Sabbath practices into my daily life. I think it will be a challenge to find the time, and develop the habit. But I also want to be flexible with myself, and understand that at this season in my life, with young children, working, and being a mom, my Sabbath times might not look just like I might want them to. But I do want to try and incorporate some of these practices and add more as I’m able.
As you might imagine, in this book Wayne Muller examines the practice of Sabbath and why taking this time is so important for us. “Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something—anything—is better than doing nothing” (p. 1). This is one of my biggest struggles. I have a very hard time doing nothing. How important it was for me to read, “Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop…Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop–because our work is never completely done. With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility” (p. 82-83).
But as Muller described Sabbath, it was something I long for, something I know I need.
- “a way of being in time where we remember who we are, remember what we know, and taste the gifts of spirit and eternity” (p. 6)
- a time when we “restore our souls” (p. 7)
- when “we remember to celebrate what is beautiful and sacred”
- when “we become available to the insights and blessings of deep mindfulness that arise only in stillness and time” (p. 7)
I think the section that was most important for me was the section on Rest. Muller discusses how important rest is, and how “if we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath…” (p. 20). He shares how in his personal life he became very ill just from working so hard and never taking time to rest.
How interesting it was to me to be reminded that we are commanded to take a Sabbath, that God wants us to rest.
You are not made for the Sabbath; the Sabbath is made for you. Mark 2:27
Another key point Muller made about Sabbath time, is that it’s a time to stop and enjoy our blessings. “We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life, nor to care deeply and gently for ourselves, our loved ones, or our world; rather, with increasingly dizzying haste, we use them all up, and throw them away” (p. 4-5). I want to be more intentional about stopping and dedicating time to spend with my kids and husband, friends, and family. Time just being together.
I also had always thought of Sabbath as just a day in the week, and had never really understood how it’s more of a practice. I loved the many ways Muller suggested for enjoying Sabbath time: cooking and sharing a meal with loved ones, lighting a candle, turning off all media and electronics, going on a walk, spending time in silence, spending time in prayer and gratitude.
He does include many rituals and practices from a variety of religions, so if that’s something that you would have a hard time getting past, this book may not be for you. But I enjoyed hearing about the traditions from a variety of cultures and religions.
One final note…if you do read this book, and want to enjoy some discussion as well, you can follow along with the videos over at The Bloom Book Club. My original intent when I first started this book was to keep up with them as they read it, which of course, I didn’t do. But I was excited to see that I could still go back and view the videos of their discussions on each section. The first one on the Introduction and Rest section is here, and from there you can find the rest.
They have now moved to (in)courage and I have vowed that this time, for sure, I will keep up with them as they read their latest book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. And….good news is, you can still get in on this one too. They are starting Sunday Feb. 6th with Chapter 1. And let me tell you…I’ve only read the first two chapters, but I love this book so far. So, get in on the fun! Read an excerpt from the book and learn more about the book club here.