Friday evening in my house is usually a very special time. Fridays I dash around trying to get up-to-date with the housework but sometime around four or five o'clock I will draw the curtains, go through to my bedroom, put on a clean outfit (sometimes just fresh nightclothes) and let my Sabbath begin.
I have always been fascinated by the rhythm of activity and rest - indeed when I was training for ministry my dissertation was "Is to retreat to advance or to escape?" When I retired I thought that my life would be mostly about quietness and structured periods of withdrawal would be unnecessary. To my surprise I have found a new depth, a new joy in these Sabbaths of intentional seclusion.
We all need to "have our souls restored". For me that definitely involves taking time out just to be with God. For some it might be playtime with children or grandchildren, it might be kicking leaves or collecting conkers, it might be baking a cake or painting a picture. We need regular times to look forward to as "me time" and to look back on as time well spent. For busy mums the idea of playing with children being "me time" might provoke hollow laughter or for those who are lonely and housebound a day of seclusion may have little appeal.
But the idea of seeking joy, that deep emotion beyond mere happiness should never be lost in the humdrum-ness of everyday life. So in a few minutes my Sabbath will begin