Simplify and Sabbath This Easter

By: Amanda Viviers

Have you found yourself wanting to slow down? The contrast of the last few years has amplified the pace of our daily lives significantly.

Pace is an important perspective, but it holds greater weight in a society that is still recovering from a pandemic. The shock of events pouring into our calendars followed closely by the consumerism associated with them, means that we must make time to rest. This is the rhythm of creating boundaries that maintain the priority and sacredness of the Sabbath in our lives.

Rest is a gift from God

Exodus 20:8-11 reminds us that we do not live to work, but we work to live. The comparison between the two means that we must simplify our understanding of embracing a slower lifestyle. Rest hits differently for each of us. Rules can lead to religion rather than personal expression. Some of us prefer to be in nature, others in silence. For some, a loud, crowded dinner table is a powerful part of a community, but for others, it is not restful at all. Holiness is not just the way that we express our worship to God, but the way that we humble ourselves and redefine who is the hero of the story. Each Easter, I intentionally read a devotional like The Answer of Hope: Easter Devotional by Compassion Australia.  This resets these perspectives around the importance of humility at Easter.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:8-11)

As leaders, we must model our reliance on God’s ways above our own—and He commands that we rest. In fact, at the cross, Jesus Christ Himself acknowledged the gap between His humanity and deity in His definitive statement on holy ground in John 19:30: “It is finished.”

A reflection to consider: 

  • Observance days and holiday periods are busy times for church communities. How can we help each other to actively sabbath this Easter?
  • Could you consider disconnecting this long weekend?

Do You Always Need to be ‘On’?

We live in a world that feels always connected and always busy. Often, you’re left feeling constantly rushed, on the go, always needing to be ‘on’ and often feeling distracted. There is discomfort in not knowing where to place your focus. This pace of living can lead to a constant state of stress. But living with more intention helps you to unpack any of the extra baggage you carry. If we continue to work harder and longer days, we don’t reassess our own reliance on God, His restoration and hope. When we rest and disconnect, we remind ourselves of the gap between our imperfection and His holy, present answers.

A reflection to consider: 

  • How can you disconnect from online spaces this Easter to recalibrate your habits?
  • What does your consumerism say at Easter?

Another way we can create space in our lives is to reflect on our consumer behaviours. We live in a society that implores us to always want more. Rest is reflected not only in our habits but also in the environments we exist within. An important part of rest is the act of simplifying our environment, so we are not just constantly buying and accumulating more.

Ethical Gift Giving

As a family, we have explored the journey of ethical gift-giving over a long period of time, and we have actively reframed our consumerism around holidays like Easter. We use Gifts of Compassion as a tool to simplify and give back at times of the year when gifts are required.

A reflection to consider: 

  • What are your habits around spending and buying gifts at Easter? Could you find ways to explore the ethical footprint of these purchases?
  • This Easter is an opportunity to slow down and listen to the Father’s voice of compassion. Is He recommending that you retreat into nature to press reset on your habits? Is He asking that you simplify your routines to make more space for him? Is there a journey of discovery around the rhythms of consumerism?

As the autumn mornings turn a little colder and the winter rugs are pulled out ready for your family’s change of season, simplify and sabbath this Easter.

Article supplied with thanks to Amanda Viviers.

About the Author: Amanda Viviers is an Author, Public Speaker and Radio Presenter, and is the Creative Director at Compassion Australia.

Feature image: Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash