Beginning a Sabbath practice

Two years ago, our friends began a beautiful practice of inviting people into their home for a sabbath meal. Gathering around pushed-together tables to share homemade bread and delicious soup, we share a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice with a simple sabbath liturgy, and spend time in relationship that has grown into a beautiful community.

Some Jews observe a Shabbat every Friday night and Saturday until sundown, resting from their work and enjoying time together with their families. This tradition is of course passed down from God’s command to “honor the sabbath day and keep it holy” in a time when work was even more intricately tied to survival. Giving God the day was a “tithe” of days, showing faith in him as the creator and sustainer of life.

The tradition of a Sabbath remains as important as ever for those who worship Adonai, whether Jewish or not, and there are many ways to observe it as a family.

• Rest from work
• Doing work for others rather than for personal gain
• Resting from media and choosing to focus on scripture instead
• Or simply pausing on a Friday night to celebrate communion with family and friends and offer thanks to God for his love.

Since our friends pioneered this practice, more than forty people have come through their doors and shared the sabbath meal with us. We’ve begun to branch out into more homes in order to practice hospitality and invite new friends into an experience with Jesus. The liturgy of lighting candles, thanking God for bread and wine and washing our hands is reminiscent of the much longer Passover Haggadah, which Jesus was observing with his disciples in the upper room just before his arrest. “Every time you do this,” he told them, “do it in remembrance of me.”

For millennia, Jews had been observing the Passover ritual every year, looking forward to the hope of a messiah. The liturgy contains many allusions to a savior, many representations of how he will come. The lamb slain and its blood smeared over the door marked the homes to be “passed over” by the death angel when the first born sons were to be killed. At Passover time we will delve deeper into the symbolism in the ritual and give you a simple way to observe the feast with your community.

Our sabbath ritual is a “mini Passover,” where broken bread represents Christ’s body, wine or juice represents his blood, and washing our hands together represents how we are made new by his sacrifice. This is what has been passed down by the Church as the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. It is a beautiful observance to share together as a body of believers.

If this inspires you, consider beginning a sabbath ritual of your own. It’s a meaningful pause in the week’s hubbub to celebrate Christ with your family, and offers a beautiful way to invite others into your home and into your faith. We’ll be sharing more about sabbath to help you celebrate!