15 Ways to Keep the Sabbath in the Time Famine

10/03/2011 09:13 pm ET | Updated Dec 03, 2011
  • Donna Schaper Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church,

We live in a culture that leaves us starved for time. Technology lets us work 24/7 and the boundaries between home and work have dissolved. Perhaps we need to invent some new ways of keeping the Sabbath. Here are some practical suggestions to get you started:.

1. Give yourself permission to keep Sabbath. Tell yourself that you may keep Sabbath, not that you must.

2. If you can keep a full day on Saturday or Sunday for nothing but worship and quiet, please do. But if you can't keep Sabbath the way your ancestors did, figure out something new.

3. Keep a 21st century Sabbath -- you don't have to have a biblical Sabbath or follow the same traditions (or lack of them) that your family did.

4. Take your time. Take your time. Do everything at half speed for an hour or so each day.

5. Custom-design your Sabbath practice to fit your job, your family, your commute.

6. Rtualize your life. Do email at set times in the morning or afternoon -- or when you decide -- and live free of it the rest of the day. Tell people what you are doing. "You can expect an answer after 4:30."

7. Ritualize your weekly exercise program. Let your body and soul say hello to each other in a morning or evening walk, yoga on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, stretching or weight-lifting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Make a plan for you. Write it down. Do it. Do it as a Sabbath.

8. Find a place with water -- a river, a lake, a mountain spring -- or put a bowl of fresh water on your desk. Touch the water on a regular basis, either once an hour or once a day or once a week.

9. Always eat lunch and always eat dinner. Eat a real sit-down meal on some regular basis, perhaps with a tablecloth or cloth napkin you keep in your desk drawer.

10. Say a prayer with breakfast, glad for the night and glad for the morning.

11. Take your time doing something you don't have to do. Write a letter to an old friend, clean a corner of your apartment, or dress up really beautifully.

12. Look at an old photograph album. Turn the pages slowly. Remember yourself at an earlier stage.

13. Choose an old album or CD and sit down and listen to it. Remember why you like it.

14. Post something spiritual on your Facebook page. Consider a note of gratitude, a note of praise, an exclamation of hope, a whisper of encouragement.

15. Read over your wedding service or your mother's funeral service. Re-imagine the promises made by and to you.