I grew up attending church and Bible camp. I’ve experienced God’s goodness many ways, and was fortunate to grow up with good Christian role models in my life. However, I did not grow up with a sense of Sabbath.

Sunday was church day. But there was no day set aside “for the Lord.” To me, Sabbath was a sacred day in the time of Jesus and the Old Testament. I knew that it was related to the Genesis story of creation. But I didn’t know what it meant for me.

A couple years after university, early into my career in teaching, I started to learn more about Sabbath from close friends who were trying it in practice. I listened to a podcast about the importance of Sabbath and how it could be applied now. I “understood” it. But it wasn’t for me yet. My habits of rest and work were scattered and inconsistent, however, they seemed good enough for me at the time.

After getting married in August of 2018, I started to experience Sabbath myself. My wife, Bryn, had practiced Sabbath for two years, and proposed we practice the Sabbath together. So one day per week, we wouldn’t work, and tried not to do chores. That was my first real taste of the Sabbath.

Most recently, I’ve been learning about God’s presence and coming to know him. I’ve been learning that spending time in His presence, without distraction or goals to achieve, is a valuable use of time. I can deepen my relationship with God just by seeking him, undivided.

I went to Rivendell Retreat Centre with Bryn for two nights at the start of 2020. It’s on an island around a small town. There I found incredible peace, stillness, beauty—God. I was able to rest with him. And it had been a very, very long time since I had experienced that kind of rest. I needed more of it—more of Him—in my regular day-to-day life.

Sabbath is a day of rest, not to just stop working, but to be with our good creator, experiencing heaven on earth.

So I’ve taken a new step. I spend time with God for at least 30 minutes at the start of my Sabbath, just the two of us (well, with Bryn in proximity too). For me, this often means praying, reading, or playing music. Today, it’s writing this story. My time with God has been good, and I hope to keep this part of my Sabbath consistent as the year continues. I need rest. I want to deepen my relationship with God in his presence. I want to experience this gift of heaven on earth called Sabbath.

— Curtis

St. Peter's Fireside