Across the Pastor’s Desk: Set aside time to remember God

Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Joy Knoppel

“Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.” — Exodus 20:8

Joy Knoppel

One of the lessons I learned during the COVID-19 pandemic was how to practice a Sabbath. You see, growing up my mom would call me her “energizer bunny” because I could never sit still. Don’t believe me? Throughout grad school I balanced a minimum of three jobs (one of them including overnights) and added as many extracurricular activities as I could to my schedule because I loved being busy. To be blunt, I thrived on it. Attending church on Sunday throughout those years was easy because as a part of my school curriculum we were expected to serve at a parish. So, Sunday worship counted not only as a job, but also as my Sabbath. At least that’s what I told myself. If I had done a better job of listening to my body instead of ignoring the stress hives, morning heaving and constant headaches then I may have learned this lesson a lot quicker — that practicing the Sabbath is a commandment for a reason. 

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In his book “The Sabbath” Jewish theologian A.J. Heschel shares what the Sabbath means and looks like in his spiritual tradition. There are a lot of incredible pieces of wisdom throughout his book (I highly recommend it), but one sentence stands out in particular to me for today. Heschel writes, “The Sabbath is meaningful to God, for without it there would be no holiness in our world of time (54).” I interpret this to mean that by setting aside a time to remember who God is and what God has done we are able to bring holiness and meaning to our time on earth. It is easy for us to fill up our schedules with anything and everything, but if we do not understand that our time is from God and for God then what is it really worth? We have been called to both work and rest, but in our world today we forget the resting part. 

This week I want to encourage you to let God’s holiness enter into your time and space. Maybe this looks like going to church or taking a silent walk outside. Perhaps it’s journaling or practicing a form of meditation. My prayer for you is that you will remember the Sabbath and keep it holy in all that you do. 

Thanks be to God, Amen. 

Joy Knoppel is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.