Sabbath Keeping by Lynne M. Baab
Six months in Iran and eighteen months in Israel, where all activity stops on every seventh day, began Lynne M. Baab’s twenty-five-year embrace of a rhythm of rest- as a stay-at-home mom, as a professional writer working out of her home, as a student and as a vocational minister of the gospel. With collected insights from Christian history and sabbath keepers of all ages and backgrounds, Sabbath Keeping offers a practical and hopeful guidebook for all of us to slow down and enjoy our relationship with the God of the universe.
This was the 2nd Lynne M. Baab book I’ve read and I think she is such a great teacher. I read her book Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites when I knew nothing of the concept of fasting and she taught me much to consider. So when I saw she had a book on the Sabbath, my interested was piqued.
My dad’s side of the family is Seventh-Day Adventist, observing sundown Friday evening to sundown Saturday evening as the Sabbath. Growing up, I’d stay with my grandparents on Friday evenings and attend Sabbath school and church on Saturday. My earliest memories from Sabbath were the activities that were not “allowed”, or at least in our family, activities that were avoided. As a kid, the weekends are looked at as days to do all kinds of things and such restrictions were not always welcome. (Ah, youth can never relax) Such activities that were avoided were shopping, television, computers, secular music, and working, to observe a day of rest and focus on God and His provisions. The idea of observing Sabbath is not only to follow God’s law (Old Testament) and Jesus’ example (New Testament), but to allow ourselves to step outside of the things of the world that occupy our mind and time 6 days a week.
Following family tradition I attended an SDA high school and spent four years going to Friday night vespers and Saturday morning worship services. So my understanding of the Sabbath is very much based on my experience/knowledge of Seventh-Day Adventist faith.
In Sabbath Keeping, Lynne Baab suggests Sabbath can be any 24-hour period that you dedicate to keeping holy. For many Christians, this day happens to be Sunday. But for others, including the author, that day could be Monday or Tuesday. I guess that’s hard for me to get my head around because I view it more as a structured concept, rather than one that changes based on circumstances.
Lynne’s experience with the Sabbath began when she lived in Iran and I very much enjoyed the history parts of this book. I also loved all the references to the Old Testament and Jewish traditions. The Jewish Sabbath is the same as Seventh-Day Adventist: sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Lynne argues in this book that any 24 hour period can be Sabbath, for example, sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday, or whatever fits your schedule.
Though the Sabbath is not observed by all, I definitely agree it is something we should all try to recognize. We all need a day of complete rest. This world is always so hurried and moving. From the ever ringing cell phones to emails and faxes, to business trips and part time jobs, to children and families, to housework and cooking and cleaning, and all of the television shows we find ourselves wanting to follow. It’s a wonder we can keep going at this fast pace for very long. Even God rested on the 7th day. I do think it’s important to recharge, refocus, and step out of the “world” to focus on things eternal. The Sabbath is a gift from God. Lynne discusses that point in this book pointing out that when you receive a gift from someone, you usually say thank you and embrace it. You don’t typically analyze it over and over: “Why did they give me this?” “What did they think I needed it for?” etc. So why do we do that when God blesses us with free gifts?
For anybody looking to learn about a day of rest or about the Sabbath, I think Lynne’s book is a peaceful and informative teaching on the subject. Though I don’t view it as an official authority (that can only be the Bible itself), Lynne offers great suggestions for practices to give up/to do during your day of rest and relaxation. And I love how she sums it up on the back cover: “Seven full days makes one weak.” Ain’t that the truth??
13 books down in 2010 (and this is week 14 so I’m right on track!), 39 books & 39 weeks to go!