I met up with my friend Mary Dawson this week at Stixwould. She’s a retired Anglican priest with a spirituality earthed in the everyday, and she was telling me about the way she keeps Sabbath. I found it very interesting, and with her permission I share below two pieces from her blog on the subject. If you’d like to read more of Mary’s wonderings you can find them at http://trundlingthroughlife.blogspot.co.uk/
Fridays are very busy in my house as Friday is the day I get ready for Saturday!
Saturday is, for me, the Sabbath. Now I am not Jewish but Sabbath is one of those aspects of Judaism which fascinates me. At the beginning of this year I decided to make Saturday very special, not trying to copy the Jewish Sabbath but making a day to refresh my soul. For me it is a day of withdrawal which I spend alone. Sometimes that just isn’t possible but most weeks I can manage it. And it is very important that my home helps me to feel calm.
So on Fridays I do most of my housework. I am not very good at house work. In fact, let’s be totally honest, I am rubbish at housework. Every couple of months I pay someone else to clean the house through for me and I consider it to be money very well spent. But each week I dash through with a duster and the vacuum cleaner, I replace the flowers and it’s the one day of the week when the bed is sure to be made properly.
I also make sure that I have done the preparation for taking services on Sunday. My quietness tomorrow is not to be spent thinking about what I will say on Sunday.
I plan my meals so that everything on Saturday is really easy. However, Friday evening is often a special meal to start my special day. After my evening meal I will load the bread-maker so that on Saturday I wake to the wonderful smell of baking bread.
Today has been Saturday and has been my Sabbath.
It seems odd really that I value a quiet day so much. I value it more now than ever I did when I was working. It is the day I renew my spirit and listen to God. There is no agenda although there are a few rituals.
The house has to be calm ready for Sabbath. It starts with a special meal. Friday night is not the time for a scrabble in the bottom of the fridge. It’s the time for something carefully chosen which may take more effort than my meals on other days. Yesterday it was a lovely homemade paella. The evening was spent quietly – no TV, just an audiobook and my knitting.
After saying Compline and loading the bread-maker it’s off to bed, and I always turn the bed down early in the evening and leave fresh nightclothes to be enjoyed with my fresh sheets. Often I put flowers in my bedroom too.
Saturday I always wake with a smile on my face. I know it’s going to be a wonderful day. The house smells of fresh bread and the crust is for breakfast. There is no question of a to-do list, I just do things which delight my soul.
My Sabbath has now ended and I still have my smile. I have no family to delight me, my health is not brilliant but there is much to delight in. God is indeed good.