When we read the gospels it is apparent that Jesus knew when his death would occur. He constantly dropped hints to his disciples, but par for course, the disciples weren’t picking them up. Therefore it’s safe to assume that he knew these days before Palm Sunday would be his final Sabbath. The Gospels do not contain many details about these days. According to John he arrived in Bethany sometime on Friday where a dinner was held in his honor at the home of a recently resurrected Lazarus [John 12:1]. At the dinner, Mary (one of Lazarus’ sisters) anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair. It was no doubt an awkwardly intimate demonstration, only to be made more unsettling by Jesus using it to hint at his death and burial. The next time we see Jesus, he is entering Jerusalem on Sunday to much adulation by the crowds, and to possibly greater contempt and fear by the Pharisees.
So what was he doing between dinner on Friday and Sunday? My best guess is that he was being a good Jew and observing Shabbat (or the Sabbath). From Wikipedia: “According to halakha (Jewish religious law), Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a blessing. Traditionally, three festive meals are eaten: in the evening, in the early afternoon, and late in the afternoon. The evening meal typically begins with a blessing called kiddush and another blessing recited over two loaves of challah. Shabbat is closed the following evening with a havdalah blessing. Shabbat is a festive day when Jews exercise their freedom from the regular labors of everyday life. It offers an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to spend time with family.”
According to Unity’s co-founder Charles Fillmore, metaphysically the Sabbath is “that state of mind in which we rest from outer thought and doings, and give ourselves up to meditation or to the study of things spiritual; it is when we enter into the stillness of our inner consciousness, think about God and [God’s] law, and commune with [God].” It would seem like the perfect thing to always do just before undertaking something momentous (or miniscule) in our lives. We don’t always have the benefit of knowing when the life-altering (or mundane) things will occur. But we can always choose to keep ourselves grounded in a ‘Sabbath Consciousness.’
Daily meditation provides us the opportunity to enter into the stillness and commune with God. It builds up our spiritual reserves for life’s surprises. It allows us to be the calm in the midst of the storm. Take a few minutes to find your Sabbath each and every day.