Living Sabbath Values


Notes of Bible Study

By Dale Stitt

What is Sabbath: A day of rest, remembering, rest, celebration and renewal. It is historically connected to the Creation Story - when God created the world and all forms of life in six days, and then rested on the Seventh (Sabbath). The meaning of SABBATH was enriched when the Hebrew slaves were liberated from bondage in Egypt and camped in the wilderness for 40 years. (see Exodus 16) God provided Manna (which literally means, "What is this?") for food, and instructed the Israelites to gather enough food on the 6th day to provide for the 7th (Sabbath) - but not to gather extra on the other days of the week. If they gathered more than they needed, the food would spoil and smell vile. The Sabbath day was expanded to the Sabbath year, when the land and animals were to rest - debts forgiven, slaves released, etc. So Sabbath includes release from bondage, debt and sin leading to healing, second chances, fresh beginnings.

Sabbath is more than a day, or a year (sabbatical) - it is a way of being (living) that can inform and permeate everything we do. It invites us to release our need to control, to let go. Letting God be God.

"There are few ideas in the world of thought which contain so much spiritual power as the idea of Sabbath" (Abraham Heschel)  No matter what the restrictions, Sabbath is a time when the goal is:

not to have but to be

not to own but to give

not to control but to share

not to subdue but to be in accord

“Spiritual healing and transformation are and should be intrinsically linked. Sabbath is part of the transformation process, part of economic justice for all.  Sabbath joins the promise of spiritual healing with economic justice and social transformation, leading to wholeness." Terry Flood

"For Jesus, the central meaning of the Sabbath is not only in securing access to food, but also in healing every infirmity - in the struggle for fullness of life for all God’s people, especially the vulnerable and excluded ones." (a commentary on Mark 3:1-6 - by Kinsler, The Biblical Jubilee and the Struggle for Life, p.93)

What if we decided to live Sabbath/Jubilee principles in the world, community, within our faith communities, and in our personal lives? That is, to integrate socio-economic and spiritual concerns ... to overcome the great divorce.

By practicing the Sabbath in our personal and married life. This would include taking time off from our busy schedule to pray, play, and enjoy God"s creation.

By examining to what extent I/we are caught up in and addicted to the dominant culture of our North American system. The goal would be to become people of enoughness. This would call on me/us to examine very closely the temptations and attractions of our economic system and to compare them with the biblical mandates for justice. (see Kinsler, p. 158f)

Adopt the Shakertown Pledge as our rule.

Seek to join or form community/church based on Sabbath principles, covenanting to live in a manner that is informed by the Gospel we proclaim. I sense we need to do this because it is almost impossible to live values counter to the dominant consciousness by ourselves ... "almost no one can break the addiction to economic entitlement alone." (Kinsler, p. 158)


Recognizing that the earth and the fullness thereof is a gift from our gracious God and that we are called to cherish, nurture, and provide loving stewardship for the earth"s resources, and recognizing that life itself is a gift and a call to responsibility, and celebration, I make the following declarations:

I declare myself to be a world citizen.

I commit myself to lead an ecologically sound life.

I commit myself to lead a life of creative simplicity and to share my personal wealth with the world’s poor.

I commit myself to join with others in the reshaping of institutions in order to bring about a more just global society in which all people have full access to the needed resources [or their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth.

I commit myself to occupational accountability, and so doing I will seek to avoid the creation of products which cause harm to others.

I affirm the gift of my body and commit myself to its proper nourishment and physical well-being.

I commit myself to examine continually my relations with others and to attempt to relate honestly, morally, and lovingly to those around me.

I commit myself to personal renewal through prayer, meditation, and study.

   I commit myself to responsible participation in a community of faith.