January has been a month of slowing down for us as a church. Early in the month we combined services in the morning. The morning and evening daily Prayer Watch continued but our prayer and worship gathering on Sunday evening also stopped. Our mid-week groups paused. Sabbath originates from a Hebrew word that means ‘stop’. So, in a sense January has been for us a Sabbath. I certainly enjoyed this in my annual leave in New Zealand with family and friends. Stopping for what purpose though?
The commands to honour the sabbath are not to make space for nothing but rather to embrace the opportunity to rest and enjoy God and His creation. It combines well with our season of Epiphany as revelation often comes to us when we are sufficiently undistracted to be open to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. We have time to reflect on a verse of scripture or for creation to speak to us of our creator. As I come back into the opportunities and challenges of ministry with all of you representing Jesus to our local area and beyond, it would be too easy to ‘get busy’. However, the greater fruitfulness in ministry is when we work from rest. I am looking to place sabbath more intentionally in my own week and life this year. Ask me about it! I wonder if we can do this together. It is a sign of freedom. We are no longer ‘slaves in Egypt’ unable to observe rest. (See Deuteronomy 5:12-15) What would doing sabbath look like for you?