There is a stillness today in the garden. Today is a day of worship, a day of contemplation on the presence of God in my life. His power and his guiding hand grip my soul. This is my Sabbath. Some take a Sabbath on Sunday, and some on Saturday. As a pastor (since I work on Sunday), I take my sabbath another day of the week.

A Sabbath is a day of rest, a day of relationship and a day of worship. It is a day to stay away from work, (that which is an obligation). It is a day to re-focus. For me, my sabbath-is a day that “I” rest spiritually in the arms of Jesus. What does that mean? What does it mean to rest spiritually in the arms of Jesus? For me, it means to focus on my relationship with my creator–a sabbath is a day with intention.

It is kind of like a date with my wife. She and I have loved each other for well over 35 years. And still we set aside time to focus on our relationship and each other, through talking, whispering, laughing, and sometimes just smiling in silence. We go special places together. Like the beach (with a bunch of others, or sometimes the two of us), or we go out and about, doing our shopping and running errands. We enjoy each other’s company. Often, our date is in the garden. Potting, nurturing, laughing and sometimes feeling sad for something that has gone away. Yes, sometimes our time together is with others. The point is: We make intentional time with each other.

It is the same — with God. I like to think of my sabbath as “hanging out with the Lord.” Personally, I start in conversation (prayer), and a sometimes soft, sometimes hearty, “good morning. Lord, I don’t know what I would have done without you yesterday!”. That kind of prayer is always a good opener. I often study for a while and hang out with Jesus in our garden. It is a good way to start our day together, our sabbath day.

Jesus likes to go to Walmart; did you know that? He must, because he goes with my wife and I, and we have a great time.  Jesus likes to play with the grandkids. We all play silly games and sometimes he watches. I think he takes it all in sitting there with a smile. There is no doubt Jesus likes to garden. He is the creator of all things and is teaching me about the harmony of creation — through his creation in the garden. A sabbath is a day of relationship and a day of worship, a day of rest from the obligations of work.

So here I am, sitting in the garden. It is my sabbath. Everything in our garden speaks to me in this conversation I am having with Jesus. The morning dew has fallen on the grass. Everything in the garden has a special sheen. The flowers open and bloom, and we, Jesus and me, we join in the songs of the garden. Jesus loved watching little Kieran and I play. Sometimes he joined in. Oh, how I cherish my sabbath day.

You know you have taken a sabbath, when you get that feeling you get after a good day. The feeling of a content smile, a feeling of few distractions and few obligations, just hanging out with Jesus. You know when you have taken a sabbath, when your soul feels rested- when you feel refreshed.

May you put aside the rat race of obligation. May you seek a day of brief distraction. And may your sabbath be a day of worship, a day of relationship, and a day hanging out with Jesus.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. “~~ Psalm 19:1-3

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” ~~ Psalm 19:14

~~By Jan Puterbaugh, associate pastor