Sunday, March 12, 2023
Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn
Lenten Devotional by Michaela Eskew
Marva Dawn, in her book, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, focuses on four main themes of Sabbath Keeping: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, and Feasting. Over the next four days, we will explore each of these themes in depth.
The main focus of her theme, Ceasing, is for the reader to understand that we are to use the Sabbath as a reminder that we are not God, and we shouldn’t try to be. As she seeks to make her reader understand the immense blessings that can come with keeping a sabbath holy, she must begin with reflecting on what needs to cease in order to make that space possible. We must cease to work seven days of the week (and that includes the chores that we leave till the weekend). We must cease to seek out productivity and accomplishment so much that it causes us anxiety and tension on our days off. We must cease to rely on ourselves and instead rely on God.
Now many of us immediately look at our schedules… how could we possible keep a sabbath that doesn’t include at least a little bit of work? Things must continue to get done: food needs to be cooked, dogs need to be walked, yardwork needs to be kept up. How do we rest, and how can we possibly enjoy it when those everyday tasks linger over us?
It may seem foolish to give the day to God when you could be so much more efficient with your time, but Dawn shares a great value that comes with giving power back to God one day a week. She writes, “Letting God be God in our lives does not, of course, mean passivity. We do not simply sit back and say that God is in charge of our work. Rather, when we get our priorities straight and remember that God is God and that we are merely his servants, we are empowered to do all that we can to be good stewards of the gifts and resources we have been given.” Prayer thoughts:
All-Powerful God, help us to cease our strivings and instead take a breath. Amen.
*I struggled with Marva Dawn’s book. I found it hard to relate to her work as my life, practices, and worldview are different than hers. While I would not recommend this book, I wrote these devotions on four different topics that she raised that I do believe hold great value for sabbath-seeking Christian believers.