God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation. – Genesis 2:3 (CEB)
I’m actually on vacation as I write this…
Vacation comes from the same root as vacate or vacant. It’s the idea of leaving something or an emptiness, in this case from work. Vacation is a ceasing. And in that way, it’s also a Sabbath. So often, we think of Sabbath as a time of doing nothing. But that’s not biblical. It was a time to cease from our work. We often see our vacations as a form of Sabbath. A time to do nothing.
But sometimes, our vacations are a lot of work. Have you ever gone to Disney World with two children? (Spoiler alert: it is not relaxing.) Or active trips, like when we biked throughout Normandy a few years with our kids. We were exhausted each night. But even then, we have vacated something. Left it behind, temporarily forgetting even though we know we will pick it back up when we return. But there is still a Sabbath rest from something.
Unless we bring that which we are vacating with us in our computers and phones.
Often, there is some work to be done when we get away. It’s hard to disconnect completely. Our responsibilities don’t take a vacation even when we do.
As a pastor, I find pastoral care coverage when I’m on vacation. I turn off the ringer on my phone. This week, we didn’t even have wi-fi until yesterday (the horror!). Of course, people could reach me in an emergency – although with the cell coverage up here, it might take a day for the voicemail to ring through. But I’m OK with that, because my congregation is familiar with the pastors that cover for me, and they are a family who can care for one another. I might not be there in the moment, but I’ll be there in the weeks, months, and years to follow. Like Sabbath, a vacation is only a temporary ceasing.
—- 5 minutes are up
Work can be done for six days, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of special rest, a holy occasion. You must not do any work on it; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD. – Leviticus 23:3 (CEB)
I’m actually on vacation as I write this…
For the last nine years, my family has rented a lake house in northern Wisconsin with my brother’s family. We’ve stayed in seven different houses in these nine years, which has also been part of the fun. Last year, the kids filmed two horror movies. Last night, we had a major gnat infestation and there are literally thousands of dead gnats all over the floor, counters,…. This comes on the heels of an outbreak of swimmer’s itch. Sometimes, there is a reason we don’t return to a house.
But regardless of where we stay, when we come up north, we spend a week boating, tubing, sitting on the dock or in the relaxation station, swimming, eating and drinking, reading, and playing games. I don’t know which of these most defines our up-north vacation. I think it’s just a week to do all of them as want. And that we do them together. It’s a special rest, a holy occasion for our family.
Vacation: It’s a special rest, a holy occasion for our family. Click To Tweet
So you see that a sabbath rest is left open for God’s people. – Hebrews 4:9 (CEB)
My prayers this morning go out to those who are on vacation, that they would be able to vacate whatever work or burden they normally carry to find a special and holy rest. I also pray for those who are never able to vacate that which they carry because of work or family responsibilities or the financial inability to stop working for a period of time. And for those for whom vacation might mean loneliness, I pray for a Sabbath from that loneliness. May we find and accept – whether they are moments or days – the Sabbath God offers us.
It’s Five Minute Friday: We are given a word each Friday morning and then spend five minutes writing on it. As a free-write, there is no editing or over-thinking.
I hope you consider checking out my new book:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for WorshipPrayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.