Lectio Divina, Sabbath Rest, and Closing the Door

I’ve read the story of creation many times before, but this time I noticed something new.

The story takes up all of Genesis 1 and spills over to the next chapter until “by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2).

God had finished the work.

I have long thought (and taught) that one of the reasons for rest and Sabbath-keeping is to recognize that all of our work belongs to God, that not everything depends on me. I can deliberately stop working because I know that God is at work.

But reflecting on this text again adds a new dimension of the Sabbath for me. God rested on the seventh day because the work of the other six days was finished.

That helps to explain why I always like to put away my sermon notes and organize my office before I leave the church on Sundays. Yes, I might still join church members for lunch, or make hospital visits that afternoon, I might send some emails or read church materials or see someone in the evening—after all, my “day off” isn’t actually until Monday. But finishing the office part of my work has become a significant point of transition.

Closing the door means that my work is finished. I can leave it behind and rest.

Your Turn: What helps you to rest from your work?



Categories: Spiritual Practice

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5 replies

  1. I like the image of closing the door at the end of the day or the end of the week of work. The difficulty for me lies in the proximity of the church office. It is in my home. I move from one room to the other, I am right now doing church emails at the kitchen table. My favorite reading chair is in the dining room…. It has been a challenge to figure out ways to close off the church work and be at home resting. One of the things I did this year was buy an ipad. This way I can shut down my office computer and still have a computer to do some email/facebook interactions. Another thing I began was to leave and go to the church to work, even though there is no interent there.

  2. I enjoy being able to work at home, and I do use the same laptop for both home and church. But when I’m not on church time, I try not to have my church email open, and when I’m at the church I don’t have my personal/writing email open. It’s not a perfect system, since people email me at one or the other and sometimes both, but having separate email addresses is another way of “closing the door” that helps me focus on one or the other.

  3. Definitely need to find some way to rest in this world… and for those of us who work on Sundays, some other day will need to be intentionally found. If God needed to rest, why not us?

  4. Willard says,
    My commitment is to close down my computer Sat. evening, and not open it until Monday.
    For some reasons, though, I will open it after 9:00 p.m.

  5. That sounds like a great practice, Willard, to deliberately take time out from our instant-on culture in order to be present in other ways. Thanks for your example.