Reading My Life Differently: Sabbath Keeping as a Creature

by Hilary Horn

By Lynne M. Baab 

Illustration by Dave Baab

I watched my granddaughter’s face as she described the bunnies at her preschool. I could see softness and joy when she said, “They’re so soft.” The tone of her voice was tender.

I hear some of that same joy when my husband Dave, a fly-fisherman, describes trout and steelhead. He talks about their glittering scales and the beauty of their movement.

I’ve never had any affection for trout! But birds make my heart sing. We had the privilege of seeing albatrosses many times while we lived in Dunedin, New Zealand. They soar with their ten foot wing spans, and something in me soars along with them.

The same Creator who made bunnies, trout and albatrosses made you and me. We are, in fact, creatures of a loving God. The Sabbath has taught me this more than any other spiritual practice.

In the Genesis story, Adam and Eve’s first full day on earth was the Sabbath day (Genesis 1:26-2:3). God rested on the Sabbath, and invited all of creation to rest as well, because the earth was so abundantly provisioned that God could rest from labor for a day. 

We often think we can take a Sabbath because we have worked hard all week. We think we deserve rest. In the creation story, relaxation and abundance come first. We rest because we are creatures of a God who created abundance. The delight of a rabbit’s fur, the shimmering silver scales on a steelhead, the majestic soar of an albatross . . . all of these are signs of God’s creativity. God didn’t have to make creatures beautiful, but the beauty of creation reflects the beauty of the Creator God, a message of joy, peace and wonder to us. 

I wrote last Tuesday about Dave’s and my time in Israel, how we were forced to observe a Sabbath simply because everything was closed one day a week. We grew to love it, and we brought that Sabbath practice back to Seattle with us. Now, four decades later, I can see so clearly that the Sabbath, more than anything else, has inscribed in my heart that I am God’s beloved creature.

I conducted dozens of interviews for my book Sabbath Keeping. I found that the single most common Sabbath practice among my interviewees was getting out in nature. They talked about walking through their neighborhood, hiking in the mountains, throwing a Frisbee for their dog on a beach, biking, skiing, sailing, swimming, gardening . . . or simply sitting in a garden. 

Being in creation reminds us of the One who created all that beauty. We experience the joy of God’s creativity and beauty. We rediscover awe. We remember the source of everything good and lovely.

In addition, we remember that we, too, were created by God. We are creatures of a loving God. We, in fact, are finite creatures, dependent on Someone Else for every breath we take and for every beat of our hearts.

On the other six days of the week, we are called to join with God in taking care of the world and the people in it. On one day each week, the Sabbath day, we are invited into the kind of rest that reminds us that a part of being God’s beloved children is remembering that we are creatures of a creative God. This God made us intricately and beautifully and wants us to consider the lilies (Luke 12:27) and trust in God’s provision for everything, just like the lilies, bunnies, trout and albatrosses depend on God.

If you long to grow in your awareness of yourself as a creature in the arms of a loving God, here are some resources I’ve written about the Sabbath:

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1 comment

June Friesen August 6, 2019 - 8:35 am

This is something I try to practice and it is so life giving. Thank you

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