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Spiritual Practice

The Sabbath Box


by Wayne Muller

 

My friend Zalman and Eve faithfully keep the Sabbath. While I was visiting them last spring, they told me that in some families it is customary to make a Sabbath box to hold all the equipment you do not need on the Sabbath — pens, car keys, wallets, etc. "On Friday," they explained, "someone stands at the door with the Shabbos box and as people enter the house for the evening meal, they put anything they know should not be taken into sacred space. Then, stripped of all our tools and machines, we can truly pray, God, there is nothing I can do about these concerns, so I know it is in your hands."

Make a Sabbath box. When you set aside time for Sabbath — whether it is an hour, a morning, or a day — put in the box those things you do not want to use. For some, a computer or telephone will be too cumbersome, but something symbolic — an address book or a floppy disk — can serve as a physical reminder of what we leave behind when we enter sacred rest.

You can also use the Sabbath box to hold all the things you feel you have left undone. Perhaps write on a small piece of paper a word or phrase that signifies a particular worry or concern you would like to leave behind for the time being. Then light a candle, alone or with friends. Let each of you speak about those things that are left to do, and as the candle burns, allow the cares to melt away. Do not be anxious about tomorrow, said Jesus. The worries of today are sufficient for today. Whatever remains to be done, for now, let it be. It will not get done tonight. In Sabbath time we take our hand off the plow, and allow God and the earth to care for what is needed. Let it be. Then, at the end of your Sabbath time, be aware of how you open the box, and how you respond to what you receive back into your life.

 

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Wayne Muller
Sabbath




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