ST PETER & ST PAUL, SEAL
Life Balance – Week 1
- What word, image or idea comes to mind when you hear the word “Sabbath”?
- Draw a circle on a sheet of paper. Think about an average
week in your life. What proportion of your time do you spend sleeping,
eating, working, playing, relaxing, doing domestic chores, looking
after others, praying and worshipping? Draw dividing lines on the
circle as if you were cutting pie slices, to represent these different
activities. Don’t worry about getting it absolutely right, but
use this exercise to help you think about whether you feel your life is
in balance or not.
What does Sabbath really mean?
- Stillness - The word ‘Sabbath’ comes from the Hebrew word Shabat, which means to pause, to cease and to be still.
- Rhythm – The
idea of taking every seventh day as a day to rest and to worship comes
from Genesis Chapter 1, where God is portrayed as working to
create the world for six days and pausing
- Receiving –
The Sabbath is a day when, instead of striving to be productive, we can
simply receive from God. It is a reminder that all we have comes from
God – “all things come from you and of your own do we give
- Refreshment- Sabbath isn’t just about not working. It is about the creativity and playfulness that restore us to wholeness.
- Freedom –
The Sabbath, when we celebrate the good things God has given us, makes
us aware of the needs of others for liberation and justice
- Holy – God,
in the book of Genesis, takes a Sabbath break himself. It is part of
the pattern of life which he means us to have.
Read – Exodus 20. 8-11 and Mark 2.23 –3.5
These passages reinforce the value of the Sabbath as God’s gift
to us. It is not meant to be restrictive, but liberating, a time for
people to find new life and wholeness, as the man who is healed in the
synagogue on the Sabbath does.
Today’s concern for a good “work-life” balance, with
many people feeling under stress as they try to fit too much into their
lives, could be seen as reflecting this Biblical concern for our human
need for “Sabbath” breaks and for a varied rhythm to our
Sabbath keeping in our twenty-first century lives might include Sabbath
days - not necessarily a Sunday; Sabbath moments – times during
the day when you can be still; Sabbath attitudes – learning to be
aware of, and thankful for, the goodness of God; Sabbath seasons
– seeing holidays, career breaks, even times of illness or
unemployment, as opportunities to learn and grow, to be refreshed and
- Think of your own life. What effect does today’s
24/7 society have on you – both good and bad? How would you like
to change the pattern of your week if you could?
- Think of one thing you would like to do to change your life during Lent so that it has more “Sabbath” in it.
- Take time this week to sit still – even if it is
just for a few minutes. Repeat to yourself the words from Psalm
46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
- Life Balance Course Prayer
God of eternity, teach us to pause.
God of creation, teach us to wonder.
God of Sabbath, teach us to rest.
God of delight, teach us to play.
God of the poor, teach us to share in your work of liberation.
God of love, reconciling us through Christ Jesus,
fill our lives with your perfect peace. Amen
- A prayer to begin a Sabbath time
help us to stop,
unclench our fists,
Adapted from “Life Balance” Copyright © Robert Warren and Sue Mayfield 2005 Church House Publishing.