Reviewed by Dale Lewis
Rest : Living in Sabbath Simplicity
by Keri Wyatt Kent
"...a superb choice for small groups looking for the practice of Sabbath to become a reality in their lives."
My childhood memories of growing
up as a pastor’s kid (PK) overflow
with Sunday church activities as a family but also a required nap in the
afternoon. There was no work, (laundry, cleaning the house including our
bedroom, mowing the yard, etc.), except for homework. There were boundaries
for other activities. As I reflect on those days, I don’t feel like
I was deprived by these guidelines . . . I just believed I was honoring
God on this unique day by obeying my parents.
Resting on the seventh day doesn't fit neatly into our busy lives. This is due to the overstated fact there are just so many tasks to get done and not enough time to see them completed! Sadly our self-importance depends on being busy. Our schedules drain what little energy we have left and our faith suffers.
In Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity, there are no secret formulas or set rules when it comes to keeping the Sabbath holy in today’s world. The author simply focuses on practical ways of embracing the Sabbath to create simplicity and calm in our hectic lives.
Kent bases her study on Jesus' teachings and actions, exploring six aspects of Christian spiritual practice that will lead to Sabbath simplicity: resting, reconnecting, revising, pausing, playing and praying. Creating space in our lives for rest and renewal is exactly what this author recommends to the reader.
In a book full of worthy quotes, here are a few of my favorites:
“ It is a day to cease striving, affirming our belief in God’s providence, defying the gods of consumerism that say we can never have enough.”
" In practicing Sabbath, we rest because God rested. We imitate God and, in so doing, realize we are not God. But we also rest from accumulating, from striving after greater prosperity. In so doing, we cultivate contentment. We have time to remember that what we have is a gift from God.”
“ Trust, for most of us, requires a major life revision. We say we trust God, but do we live that way? Our experience, perhaps, has made us wary of trusting others. Our workaholic tendencies are often driven by fear — that we will not have enough; that if we don’t accomplish, we don’t have value. Sabbath-keeping challenges us to experience the provision of God and the unearned love of God. It’s one thing to say, ‘God loves me no matter what,’ but to have a day when we accomplish nothing and feel God’s pleasure — that’s a transformational experience.”
This book is an excellent reminder to the reader that keeping the Sabbath, setting one day of the week aside to rest, is an ancient practice necessary for a “sanely-paced, God-focused life.” A group study guide is included which helps make Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity a superb choice for small groups looking for the practice of Sabbath to become a reality in their lives.