Smoky Mountain sabbath

As this post comes online, my husband and I are nearing the end of a week of vacation at the cabin of friends in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. The brief respite from the busyness of careers, volunteer activities, and family commitments is a much-needed reminder of one of God’s most precious gifts to humankind — the gift of rest. The gift of sabbath.

Richard Bliese, president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, writes about this in a short essay title “Sabbath and Mission.” Although addressed to parish pastors, Bliese’s comments are helpful to any of us tending toward “go, go, go, 24/7.”

Sabbath rest . . . reminds us that the mission—and our callings—belong 100 percent to God. The biblical qualities of sabbatical time emphasize rest, celebration, reconciliation and its extraordinary character. Likewise, the rhythm of Sabbath time in the Bible becomes a fascinating teacher.

  • After six days of work, one day of sabbatical
  • After six years of work, one year of sabbatical
  • After 49 (7 x 7) years of work, a Jubilee year
  • After a lifetime of work, an eternity of sabbatical

The commandment to “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” invites us to step back, for a day or just a moment, and see that what God is doing is good. This is the only commandment that begins with the word “remember.” It’s like we know that God is in charge, but we need to be constantly reminded so that we can retreat from the illusion of our own indispensability.

For North American Christians — folks so intent on doing good that we’re doing ourselves in — perhaps the greatest statement of confidence in God’s abundance is to take time to rest. To honor the Sabbath. There’s always tomorrow, and God is waiting in it for us.


  1. This is a wonderful reminder that rest is an indication of our understanding that God is actively involved in our care. The gentleness of the mountains always calms our spirits. It feels like the arms of God. I’m so glad you were able to take a well-deserved rest there as well.

  2. May we both relish God’s gift of abundant time.

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