Keeping the Sabbath Holy, Even in a Pandemic

Especially in a Pandemic.  

God has not changed.  His desires for His Church have not changed.  His definition of “Church” has not changed. We are His Body, meant to be in community under the Word.  We are created to be feasting together on the Bread of Life; but find ourselves in a bit of an exile.  Nothing like the Babylonian exile mind you, but nevertheless, our government has issued a stern warning–if we gather we will go to jail or be fined or both.  

Many are struggling with this “new” situation.  Some are encouraging us to find a “new normal.” For holistic wellness, for Shalom, we ought to persevere.  But we do not have to call this a “new normal.” We do not know what the future holds, therefore we do not have to think of this as a “new normal,” but rather as a season.  Do we know when this season will end? No. Do we know if it will be what continues? No. Then how do we persevere?

Continue in the rhythms of life that God has gifted us. 

These circumstances dictate where we go, and foster a feeling of isolation.  Yet even now, let us walk in the Spirit. Even now, we can worship God in spirit and in truth, the God of order, moment by moment, by ordering our steps, and turning our thoughts ever toward Him.  

Three Ways You Can Persevere

First, keep the Sabbath holy. 

Set apart. God set it apart in His creation order.  Six days of work followed by one of rest. Rest. Use this day for rest.  It is also reiterated in the Law. You will be tempted to treat it like any other day…because they all blend together and we are not even sure if April will end and May ever begin.  But beloved, the Sabbath rest is meant for us.  He still restores us, refreshes us, delights in us.  Let us then delight in Him as we keep the Sabbath. We do not gather to worship corporately–but we worship.  

Second, find other simple, pleasurable ways to differentiate the days. 

Keep Taco Tuesday on the schedule! We close out our homeschool week with a Friday Poetry Tea, and still do.  I hang sheets on the clothesline every Saturday, still do. Where would I be without my friends from church meeting (on Zoom, no worries, we are appropriately distanced) for Bible Study every Wednesday?  We practice music in the afternoons, but I do not require it on Sundays (then we play only for fun!). We do art once a week.  Every day has needs of its own, find ways to make your week flow, and to mark the days.

Third, make time to feed your soul. 

Letting these habits slip out of despair will only increase the despair.  Bible study at least once a week, Bible reading and meditating daily, prayer without ceasing, listen to an audiobook while doing chores, journal every now and then, text friends your prayer requests–perhaps even call.  One friend of mine has challenged us to use our extra down time to memorize a large portion. My family memorizes Scripture together–but I have been enjoying this time to memorize something by myself.  Seek beauty, recognize His goodness, delight in His truth.

As you make room for these spiritual disciplines, find some Psalms to help you lament, express yearning, find strength and comfort, or cry out without grumbling.  Now more than ever we need to pray with David from Psalm 27:

Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a level path because of my foes [circumstances, etc].  …I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes wait for the LORD.

Let your heart.  Let.  Your. Heart…   Let your heart come to Him.  Let your heart hear His Word.  He is with us always, even to the end of the age.  He is our ever present help in times of trouble. We are not forsaken.  We who wait on the LORD will not be ashamed.

3 thoughts on “Keeping the Sabbath Holy, Even in a Pandemic”

  1. I love this post! Just because days seem to run together we should make it a point to remember this special day of rest.

  2. This was beautiful and just what I needed today! I read and reread “let your heart”. I’ve never noticed that part of the verse and will be dwelling on this today. Thank you!

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