Do you need an election Sabbath?
By Beth Demme
As we near the end of the 2016 Presidential Election, I long for the peace that passes understanding. I need to experience God afresh. I need a Sabbath.
Sabbath is a weekly practice, but it is also one we can specifically turn to in a time of need. For me, this election season qualifies. I don’t think I’m the only one. I think maybe all of America needs an election Sabbath.
On Facebook, I see the relief (or perhaps joy?) in the selfies my friends are posting after participating in early voting. Happy to have cast their vote, but also happy they are one step closer to the end of this campaign.
What images does your mind conjure up when you hear the word, Sabbath? I think of rest and peacefulness.
Sabbath rest and peacefulness are the antitheses to the 2016 election, and perhaps the antidote for it.
This presidential election has been the most emotionally taxing election I have personally experienced. As we approach November 8, 2016, I feel emotionally exhausted from the rhetoric and vitriol. More than ever, I need to experience God’s presence and acknowledge God’s provision.
I am also exhausted by the amount of worry I have personally invested in this campaign. I’ve read, and said, too much on social media. I’ve spent too many hours researching various political stories trying to discern the truth. Perhaps I have even spent too much time praying about the candidates, the campaigns, and—dare I say it—the results.
It’s time to get back to praying for myself and doing for others instead of praying for others while doing for myself.
Like I said, I need a Sabbath.
Being intentional about Sabbath is a “spiritual discipline” which is Christianese for the “things we do intentionally to connect with God.”
If you, too, feel like you need a Sabbath specifically because of the election, I invite you to join me in a few election-related Sabbath practices.
1. Turn to God
“The way into Christian Sabbath observance isn’t so much about rules as orientation: away from the busyness of the week and towards the Creator who rested.” Lauren F. Winner
Sabbath originates with creation. As Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in The Message, “Heaven and Earth were finished, down to the last detail. … On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:1-4 MSG)
My work as a voter is complete (until election day). I’ve researched the candidates and the issues. I’m prepared to vote. I can rest now. I can turn away from the busyness, and emotional turmoil, of this election season and towards the Creator who rested.
2. Turn It Off
I love the POTUS channel on XM (“Politics of the United States”), but during this campaign I’ve over-indulged. Hearing it every time I turned on my car took a toll on my happiness. For you it might not be POTUS, but it could be MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, or any other channel with election coverage.
Instead of constantly listening to people talk about politics, I’m back to audiobooks. Luckily, I was able to slowly wean myself off politics because my book club read America’s First Daughter this month. Instead of hearing journalists and political pundits theorize about 2016, I listened to a well-researched, but nonetheless fictional, story about politics at the turn of the 19th century.
Now, if I could just find the resolve to turn off Twitter …
3. Pray for Peace
I continue to pray for the candidate I support, as well as those I don’t. But I also pray for inner peace. I pray that God will use me to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
I have strong feelings about the election and I have, at times, offended people. I repent for being offensive and pray that I will be a peacemaker instead of a hatemonger.
4. BONUS: Eat Some Bread
Sabbath is a time of rest, a set-apart opportunity to experience God’s provision and presence. AND, in Jewish tradition challah bread is specially made for it! Despite the carbs (because of the carbs?), eating bread enhances my enjoyment of the Sabbath. Here’s an easy recipe, complete with video, I recently made and enjoyed very much: Challah Bread
I didn’t think to take a picture until after I had a slice. Oops 🙂
As we near the end of an emotional election season, I want to turn my attention away from the ugliness of the campaign and turn, instead, to God. That’s what Sabbath is all about.
What about you? Do you feel you need a Sabbath from this election? Did you realize this weeks ago and wonder why I’m so slow to see it? Do you have specific Sabbath practices or tips you can share with me? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook.
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