Curated by Kate Rademacher

Many of us are exhausted, overwhelmed, and burnt-out. We’re anxious about our own lives, and we’re anxious about the state of the world. There is a simple, accessible spiritual practice we can embrace to find rest and restoration: the gift (and commandment!) of Sabbath. Not only does rest help our physical and mental health, a Sabbath discipline reminds us that we’re not God and the world will not stop if we do. 

Articles:

Discovering sabbath in my mother’s hospice room by J. Dana Trent, published in The Christian Century

What if the Real Act of Holiness Is Rest?  by Margaret Renkl, published in The New York Times

Seeking Sabbath: Crankiness and Delight – by Kate H. Rademacher, published by Grow Christians

Bring Back the Sabbath – by Judith Shulevitz, published in The New York Times 

Sabbath as Resistance – by J. Dana Trent, published in Sojourners 

Letting God run things without my help – by Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, published in The Christian Century 

Books

For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community by J. Dana Trent

Description: In our culture of constant busyness, most of us feel like we’re never caught up. The lines between home and work have blurred as we stay tethered to our mobile devices and computers. Many people use weekends to catch up on errands and other work that doesn’t get done during the week. God’s commandment to “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” seems like a relic from a simpler time.


Many Americans balk at the idea of setting aside a whole day for worship, rest, and time with those who matter most to them. Yet we long for more time to spend on what matters most—unrushed time to rest, reconnect with friends and loved ones, and deepen our relationship with God.

With humor and honesty, Trent reveals her own struggles with setting apart a day devoted to God, rest, and community. This book traces the rich history of sabbath, helps you find ways to overcome barriers to this spiritual practice, and suggests achievable ways to build sabbath into your life.

Wrestling with Rest: Inviting Youth to Discover the Gift of Sabbath By Nathan T. Stucky 

Description: Busyness is a sickness of the soul that affects many today—and it is especially detrimental to young people, who are finding their identity shaped by ongoing resume-building, constant digital communication, and unceasing activity. The last thing they have time for is rest. But rest—Sabbath—is necessary for youth, not just because of who they are socially, emotionally, and physiologically, but because of who God has made them to be and wants them to be.

Nathan Stucky shows that rest challenges youth whose identities are rooted in productivity, efficiency, achievement, and accom­plishment. For them, the notion of Sabbath grace both appeals and disorients. Yet through the Sabbath, God invites young people into an identity rooted and grounded in the grace, life, and provision of God. Wrestling with Rest offers biblical and practical advice for helping youth to discover their God-given identity, in which they can truly find rest.

Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World By Osheta Moore

Description: Shalom, the Hebrew word often translated as “peace,” was a far cry from blogger and podcaster Osheta Moore’s crazy life. Like a lot of women, she loved God’s dream for a world that is whole, vibrant, and flourishing. But honestly: who’s got the time? So one night she whispered a dangerous prayer: God, show me the things that make for peace. In Shalom Sistas, Moore shares what she learned when she challenged herself to study peace in the Bible for forty days. Taking readers through the twelve points of the Shalom Sistas’ Manifesto, Moore experiments with practices of everyday peacemaking and invites readers to do the same. From dropping “love bombs” on a family vacation, to talking to the coach who called her son the n-word, to spreading shalom with a Swiffer, Moore offers bold steps for crossing lines between black and white, suburban and urban, rich and poor. What if a bunch of Jesus-following women catch a vision of a vibrant, whole, flourishing world? What happens when Shalom Sistas unite?

The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time  By Judith Shulevitz

Description: What is the Sabbath, anyway? The holy day of rest? The first effort to protect the rights of workers? A smart way to manage stress in a world in which computers never get turned off and work never comes to an end? Or simply an oppressive, outmoded rite? In The Sabbath World, Judith Shulevitz explores the Jewish and Christian day of rest, from its origins in the ancient world to its complicated observance in the modern one. Braiding ideas together with memories, Shulevitz delves into the legends, history, and philosophy that have grown up around a custom that has lessons for all of us, not just the religious. The shared day of nonwork has built communities, sustained cultures, and connected us to the memory of our ancestors and to our better selves, but it has also aroused as much resentment as love. The Sabbath World tells this surprising story together with an account of Shulevitz’s own struggle to keep this difficult, rewarding day.

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now By Walter Brueggemann

Description: In this new edition that includes a study guide, popular author Walter Brueggemann writes that the Sabbath is not simply about keeping rules but rather about becoming a whole person and restoring a whole society. Brueggemann calls out our 24/7 society of consumption, a society in which we live to achieve, accomplish, perform, and possess. We want more, own more, use more, eat more, and drink more. Brueggemann shows readers how keeping the Sabbath allows us to break this restless cycle and focus on what is truly important: God, other people, all life. Perfect for groups or self-reflection, Sabbath as Resistance offers a transformative vision of the wholeness God intends, giving world-weary Christians a glimpse of a more fulfilling and simpler life through Sabbath observance.

Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline By Lauren F. Winner

Description: After her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Lauren Winner found that her life was indelibly marked by the rich traditions and spiritual practices of Judaism. She set out to discover how she could incorporate some of these practices into her new faith. Winner presents eleven Jewish spiritual practices that can transform the way Christians view the world and God. Whether discussing attentive eating, marking the days while grieving, the community that supports a marriage, candle-lighting, or the differences between the Jewish Sabbath and a Sunday spent at the Mudhouse, her favorite coffee shop, Winner writes with appealing honesty and rare insight.

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives By Wayne Muller 

Description: In today’s world, with its relentless emphasis on success and productivity, we have lost the necessary rhythm of life, the balance between work and rest. Constantly striving, we feel exhausted and deprived in the midst of great abundance. We long for time with friends and family, we long for a moment to ourselves.

Millennia ago, the tradition of Sabbath created an oasis of sacred time within a life of unceasing labor. Now, in a book that can heal our harried lives, Wayne Muller, author of the spiritual classic How, Then, Shall We Live?, shows us how to create a special time of rest, delight, and renewal–a refuge for our souls.

The Sabbath By Abraham Joshua Heschel

Description: Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God’s creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication-and has been read by thousands of people seeking meaning in modern life. In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel introduced the idea of an “architecture of holiness” that appears not in space but in time Judaism, he argues, is a religion of time: it finds meaning not in space and the material things that fill it but in time and the eternity that imbues it, so that “the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals.”

Resources

Resources for Cultivating Sabbath Rest with J. Dana Trent from Upper Room Books