Author: Chris Braudaway-Bauman


As I’ve been getting ready for my sabbatical, the light touch of author Anne Lamott has offered me some humorous encouragement. “Sometimes the best thing we can do is plant our butt on a rock and breathe,” she writes in one place, and in another, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”


It’s good advice, this resting, and it’s also deeply connected to the wisdom of the life-giving, life-sustaining pattern of things set for us at the very beginning of the Bible – in the first story of creation. There is a rhythm to this story, a music. As one commentator observes, the hymn in Genesis has a steady beat starting with time’s very first measures: a first day, a second day, a third day, a fourth day, a fifth day, a sixth day. On the beat God creates, and on the off beat, God pauses. God steps back to gaze at the shimmering stars, the green fields, the warm flesh, the soft hearts, and with satisfaction, declares it, “Good.”


Finally comes the seventh day.  On this day there is no pause at the end the measure. Instead, the whole day is a rest in the music. All is goodness. The lyrics of the story read, “And on the seventh day God finished the work that God had done. So, God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.”


In taking this sacred pause in the work week, God shows us rhythm with which we are meant to live our lives. As God creates, so we, who are made in the image of God, work to make things too. As then as God rests, so shall we. So important is this time of rest from work that it ends up as one of the Ten Commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”


Sabbath is an expression of God’s care or us, for our health and well-being. It’s a gift. But since it’s one we often are reluctant to accept, God had to make it a commandment. God commands us to rest so that we might remember our worth does not lie in our productivity, but in God’s primordial love for us. We are valued in God’s sight not because of what we do, what we produce, what we achieve, but because of who we are – God’s very own, God’s beloved, God’s own children.


Sabbath put us in our place in other ways too. It humbles us. It reminds us that we are creatures. We are not God. When we are tempted to think our efforts are indispensable, God lovingly takes our pride down a notch. It is not, finally, human effort that grows the grain. The sun will still rise and set without our help. We are not the ones in charge. Instead, we are to honor, and to rely, radically, on the one who is.


More than anything perhaps, the practice of Sabbath is meant to free us, to release us, to carve out a space for us so that we can remember, savor, and continually find our lives renewed in the goodness of God and the world God made.


As I take a sabbatical, I pray that you, too, will experience the joy of Sabbath, of unhurried time, life-giving rhythms, sunrises, sunsets, nights of star gazing, picnics in green fields, sacred pauses, and deep breaths.



Each moment. Each breath.

Each heartbeat and every hour:

may the rhythm of your life

restore and renew you this day.


  • Jan Richardson



In case you missed seeing it on Sunday, here’s the Super Sabbatical Summer Schedule of what’s planned for you while I’m away.

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