St Edmund of Canterbury, Hayes

  • Sabbath


When was the last time you had a day off and how did you spend it?

Now when we start talking about the Sabbath it is easy to fall into legalism and start splitting hairs.  This is not about a guilt trip.  Jesus made the point that Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath.

 Sabbath is God’s gift to us; it's another example of the free grace of God.

Adam was created on day 6 and so his first day in the world was the Sabbath – the first think he did was rest.

Human beings are called, not to rest from work, but to work from a place of rest.

It's just not possible for everyone to have the same day off.  There is something good about doing it on the same day as others so that we can rest together.  Of having a family day. Or getting together with friends.

Some of us can remember when shops were closed on a Sunday.  Does anyone else secretly miss the peace and quiet of lockdown? 

We all need sabbath rest.  One day in seven to cease from our labours.

We tell ourselves that we are just too busy and we have so much to do.  And that might make us feel important.  No-one is as important as Jesus; his job was to save the whole world; and even he took sabbath seriously and got away with his disciples to rest. 

Or perhaps we feel guilty about taking time off because it means saying no to others. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first or you won’t be able to help others.  Taking sabbath rest strengthens you to serve others and makes you a nicer person to be with.  If you are someone who is constantly giving out (you know who you are) you’ll dry up.

If you are living with a constant low-grade fatigue and chronic anxiety that rarely, if ever, goes away, it may be that you need to upgrade your sabbath.

So how can we do this:

Be deliberate; pro-active; intentional; focussed.  If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we’ve always got.

If you can’t have Sunday have another day (for me it’s Friday)

We need to:


If you have a lot of things on your to do list, you can’t always finish but you can stop.

Turn off the phone? Avoid checking the emails.  Try to silence that nagging voice at the back of your mind.  Take a break from worrying about your problems.  Write them down and put them away – you can come back to them later when you are refreshed.


Think about how you can make it restful and restorative.

Last few Fridays: we did some gardening which sounds like work but we enjoy it. Last week we went on a long walk on the Hillingdon Trail and had coffee in Ickenham and a picnic lunch.

OK so this week I had a few admin chores to do but then we went swimming.

Receive and Delight

... in God and in his gifts to us.

Be Worshipful.  Sit and pray; walk and talk with God.

"O Sabbath rest by Galilee, O calm of hills above, 

Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee 

the Silence of Eternity interpreted by love."

Stand and stare.  Take thought to enjoy your food. Smell the roses. Be fully present to those around you.  Be with those who are with you.


Sabbath is an act of faith.  Sabbath is about earthing our sense of self in our relationship with God, not our work. We stop work and the world goes on. It's not all about me. It's humbling.  As John Ortberg puts it, 'there is a God, and it isn't me'.


So how are you going to get the most out of your next sabbath?

What changes do you need to make?

What are you going to stop?  What are you going to start?

Here are a few links to a book, a podcast and a video interview with John Mark Comer that you might find helpful.

John Mark Comer: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry