I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you an adorable story about how I met my husband.
I began working at Petsmart as a result of my divorce. My part time youth ministry job wasn’t paying me a livable wage, so I had to get a second job. My best friend in the world, Tara, worked at the PetsHotel and she hooked me up. I ended up working there for 2.5 years and I loved it.
On my very first day, I met an adorably frantic young man named James. He introduced himself by saying “hey will you clean this playroom? I’m James, by the way.” I replied “I don’t know how to do that. I’m Katie, by the way.” And the rest is history.
James was born and raised a Seventh Day Adventist. When I first asked someone about James, the said “he’s cool. I don’t know. I think he’s mormon or something.” So if you’re unfamiliar with the SDA, you’re not alone. I had no idea what that meant. Basically, they’re reformed christians with a high escotology and strict moral code. Or, they’re kinda conservative, can be legalistic, believe Jesus is coming back tomorrow, and practice veganism/vegetarianism. The SDA is more than a denomination, it’s a culture all it’s own. Sometimes I feel like an anthropologist studying a culture as an outsider on the inside.
The Adventist denomination is full of beautiful people and traditions. They do things I don’t agree with, every denomination does, but they do many wonderful things too. My favorite thing about being an outside Adventist is that I have learned how to practice Sabbath keeping.
Adventists take great pride in the fact that they worship and sabbath on Saturday. It’s the seventh day of the week on our North American calendars. It’s the day the Lord rested from creation. It’s when the OG christians (aka Jews) took sabbath. So sundown Friday to sundown Saturday is sabbath day.
In keeping the sabbath, Adventist go to church, and then they go eat lunch in people’s homes with friends and family. Hardcore adventists go to vespers (house worship or bible study) on Friday night, church Saturday morning, and close out the sabbath with a lesson and praise. There is a lot of eating, laughing, singing, and great conversation. But you don’t spend money and you don’t earn money. You break from your daily activities to spend intentional time with your community and with God.
After the first time I went with James to church and then to his parents home god sabbath lunch, I realized that I hadn’t taken a real sabbath in years. Maybe never. Working in a church has a tendency to blurs the lines of work and worship.
Sabbath, for me, in the beginning, was a huge type of fast. I had to actively step away mentally and physically from working and take time to actually worship and be in community. I had to fast from leading and instead, just be a part. It took me way longer than I thought it would to be comfortable with the practice of Sabbath.
Fasting forces us to say no to certain things so that we have more room to say yes to the things we are passionate about. When we deny ourselves the routine of our lives, we can choose to fill that time with things that center our hearts and minds and give our souls renewed energy. When we say no to our desires, we can say yes to our true selves.
My hope is that you take time this season to fast. Release yourself from the obsessive and distractive desires and activities in your life for a time. Open yourself up to new experiences and people. Allow yourself to freely give to others and receive joy, peace, and grace from God and from the world. Take time to care for yourself so that you can care for your neighbors. Be open to the world.
Intentionally breathe in your humanity and exhale grace, peace, and love.
Happy Sabbath, friends!