“The Sabbath gives us an opportunity to weave rest not only into our schedules but into the fabric of our souls.” Darrin Patrick
On Christmas and on Thanksgiving I have this feeling of protection from the outside world. Time stops for me. I’m at peace. It’s warm and comfortable, and safe. Yes, that’s it; I feel safe.
No one is calling me requiring me to perform to their expectations. No one is texting me or emailing me demanding an immediate response. The barbarians are held at bay, for a day.
It’s the same feeling I remember sensing when my daughter was born. That hospital room was like a safe cocoon from the craziness of the outside world. Back then I was in the middle of developing a 400 lot development, a fairly stressful time, but even my maniacal partners would not dare intrude on that day.
Safe. Protected. No outside intrusions. No outside demands invading my peace. And, no voice in my head saying, “Accomplish something today. Do something.”
If I could just recapture that feeling.
Oh, but I can. And so can you, weekly.
The Apostle Paul pens a passage in Philippians totally unrelated to keeping the Sabbath, but I am unabashedly applying it anyway, because it paints such a perfect portrait of a “Sabbath to the Lord.”
“ Rejoice in the Lord always. “I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
A nice start to any Sabbath, wouldn’t you agree? And then the promise:
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (garrison) your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-13 (‘garrison’ added)
The Greek word for ‘guard’ is garrison. God is promising he will build a garrison around your heart and your mind, protecting his gift of peace, which he will lavish upon you, if you will only trust him.
The barbarians are at the gate and you need a garrison of protection.
The Sabbath is God’s gift of a garrison to you.
During those times, babies being born, weddings, Christmas, time stops, and you are totally free from outside intrusions. You are protected from the invasions of work, to-do responsibilities, emails, texts, voicemails, and “getting ready” for the next work day.
No one is going to get mad at you for not getting done what they wanted you to get done. And if they did, you would feel absolutely free and justified in simply responding, “I’m sorry, I was at my wedding.” Or “ I’m sorry, it was Christmas Day.” No guilt, no stress.
What if every Sunday could be this way? Imagine your life. Imagine your stress level, your anxiety level, your, “If I don’t it, won’t” affliction, fading. You would never need a vacation. You would still take vacations, but instead of returning exhausted, as we all are after vacations, you’d return refreshed and full of energy, simply because this has become the rhythm of your life.
No voice in your head saying, “Do something. Accomplish something. You can’t just relax and reflect and enjoy the whole day, one day every week!”
Yes you can.
What a safe place. A cocoon, protecting you, nourishing you, surrounding you with comfort and peace.
God has given you this gift of a garrison. The barbarians of this lost culture are constantly at the gate, but they cannot penetrate God’s garrison of peace, if we will only seek to enter his Sabbath rest.
It is God’s desire for you. It is God’s plan for you. It is God’s commandment to you. And it is God’s gift of a Sabbath garrison for you.
If you want a little more, from Mark Buchanan:
A typical response to threat and burden is to want to flee it. “If only I could get away is our mantra. Then I would be safe. Then I could enjoy my life.” But what we find is that flight becomes captivity: once we begin to flee the things that threaten and burden us, there is no end to the fleeing.
God’s solution is surprising. He offers rest. But it’s a unique form of rest. It’s to rest in him in the midst of our threats and burdens. It’s discovering, as David did in seasons of distress, that God is our rock and refuge in the thick of our situation. The Rest of God