Sabbath just for Sundays? everyday? or never? (if you're in the midst of a pandemic): 5 days 'til Academic Planners Launch

If your week has involved laundry mountains, leaking sinks, lost packages, or kids climbing the walls from cabin fever, you’re in good company here. Let us not talk about spiritual practices disembodied from our real, beautiful, hard, good lives. 

We care for our selves, our souls, our bodies, our families as an extension of God’s care for us. We are enlivened by, animated by, grounded in God’s care for us as we care for ourselves and others. The practices and rhythms we cultivate either help or hinder our ability to extend that care. So, as I’ve said before, let's leave some room for gracious, spacious, hospitable creativity as we set out, shall we?

Our Academic Planners launch Monday, so we've been sharing foundational aspects of the planner and reflecting on the prayer of Examen and crafting life-giving rhythms so far this week. You can also join us every day this week on Instagram Live at 3pm C and on Facebook Live at 8pm C, where we'll dive a little deeper.

The Sacred Ordinary Days Planner is the culmination of years of learning, listening, teaching, and walking alongside people who were hungry for peace, presence, and purpose. I did that first in formal ministry and teaching roles, then as a Spiritual Director, and for the last four years through our tools and community here at Sacred Ordinary Days. Our planner is designed to help you prayerfully discern and faithfully do the work you are uniquely called to and created for, so you can do your work effectively, joyfully, and sustainably—no matter what your work is.


Today we’re focused on Sabbath, which is about resting, delighting in the world God created, and trusting God to be God beyond our work and prayer. Intentional spaces of rest help quiet the mind, heart, spirit, and body. They restore and rejuvenate us. Most of all, they remind us that our humanity is a gift given to us by God. 

A regular practice of Sabbath honors our limits and allows space for a deepening experience of trust in God. When we willingly release control, our inclination toward self-sufficiency is gently removed. With unclenched fists, our own striving and tending fades. As we open our hands, we entrust our lives and our world to God again each week. 

Both Marva Dawn and my own friend Lacy Clark Ellman have said Sabbath is about ceasing and feasting. We cease from our work and feast on God’s goodness.


We most often think of Sabbath as part of our weekly rhythm. We go about our work and prayer for six days and on the seventh, we rest and we delight in all that is, a reflection of God’s creation rhythm in Genesis. For many of us that day of rest is Sunday, although if you’re a minister with services on Sunday, it’s most likely another day of the week. If you work in health-care, food services, or retail your day might shift unreliably.

Anyone who’s ever truly attempted it can attest—fully setting aside our work for an entire day each week is easier said than done. We live in a world of constant demands and screaming, insistent (often false) urgency. 

In his book The Dusty Ones, Dr. A. J. Swoboda says that rest does not come with “getting our lives in order. Rest is something God finds on our behalf.” He reminds us that the Bible never asks us to create or make Sabbath. Instead, we are invited to protect and enter it. Sabbath is a gift—and we must receive it.


Simple, daily practices of rest and delight train us toward the practice of Sabbath and keep our work sustainable. Daily invitations to stillness, scripture reading, and reflection, an alternating daily rhythm of work followed by rest or reward, plenty of white space and margin—these invitations are woven throughout the Sacred Ordinary Days planner. 

These invitations help us enter into the gift of Sabbath, receiving it with open hands and glad hearts. They help us find new rhythms and meanings of Sabbath even in a time as strangely untethered as “Pandemic-tide” (our name for this singular season)—because Sabbath is for all times and all people.


We’ve included a Sabbath page each week to help you notice and cultivate this practice in your life.


Each Sabbath page features a quote that is meant to engage your emotions, thoughts, and actions. The quotes are drawn from primarily Judeo-Christian voices in a variety of texts, hymns, songs, and chants. You may connect with some quotes more than others. Consider the invitation each might extend to you.


Use this space to journal, jot down your reflections on the lectionary passages or sermon, draw, doodle, or simply be reminded of the importance of incorporating lots of “white space” into your life through a practice of Sabbath-keeping.


Spend time at the start of each week considering the week ahead. What is most important? What needs to get done? Allow yourself to enter each week with an awareness of what matters most?


The lectionary is a three-year cycle used in corporate worship across the world and throughout centuries that guides churches through the Christian Scriptures—the Bible. Many versions of the lectionary exist, and our planner draws from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), a widely used ecumenical resource. The weekly lectionary rhythm mostly includes four texts: one each from the Old Testament, the Psalms, an epistle, and the Gospels. Some feast days carry their own lectionary passages, and these are noted in the planner on appropriate days.


Find additional Sabbath resources here on our website.


How do you cease and feast on the Sabbath? Do you observe Sabbath on Sunday or another day of the week? How would you like to welcome the gift of Sabbath? What are invitations to rest and delight is God holding for your right now? How might you lovingly protect the Sabbath for yourself or those in your care and keeping, so that you may receive it as the gift it is?

Alongside you,