A Brief Review of
Sabbath (Ancient Practices Series)
by Dan Allender
Review by Kevin Book-Satterlee
In his book, Sabbath, Dan Allender speaks to two camps: “Camp I Don’t Have Time to Sabbath” and “Camp Sabbath Rigidity.” Though neither camp is coined specifically in this volume, for those that tent in either one, Allender’s liberating message of delightful Sabbath is a must read.
One of the newest books in Thomas Nelson’s Ancient Practices series, Allender’s work focuses on the practice of delighting in the period of Sabbath. It is the one period in which the pilgrim truly lives the Kingdom of God – a day of delight and joy, a period of reflecting on the eschatological life.
In his introduction Allender writes, “Sabbath is not about time off or a break in routine. It is not a mini vacation to give us a respite so we are better prepared to go back to work. The Sabbath is far more than a diversion; it is meant to be an encounter with God’s delight,” (xix). Despite being applied for the very modern lifestyle (fly-fishing, listening to jazz, smoking pipes and drinking good wine are some personal practices he mentions), Allender does ground his definition of Sabbath in the ancient Hebrew word menuha, best translated as joyous repose, tranquility or delight (11).
This small volume is a breeze to read, and while the work can be read in a day, it is far from trivial. The repetition of the delight theme – found through play, peace, communion and justice – acts as a meditation device. The book, peppered with stories of Allender’s cultured life and experience of the Sabbath, is a quick read that redefines the nature of Sabbath living. After reading this book, dwellers of either camp mentioned above will pull stake and replant in Allender’s new camp, “Camp Sabbath Delight.”