Sabbath Rest

This painting by French artist James Tissot (1836-1902) really captured my attention this week. I loved all the little details he chose to pack onto his canvas. It seems to me that he might have been trying to capture a quiet Sunday afternoon in his home.

A woman is shown reclining and reading a newspaper in the corner while her young nieces are playing in the same room. The baby in bright ribbons on the highly ornate carpet is unaware of the faces that are peaking up behind the screen and sofa on the left. Since this painting is part of the collection at the National Gallery in Washington D.C., I feel like I have stood in front of it at some point, but sadly it is not on view at the moment so I will just have to be satisfied with this digital version of the masterpiece.

Take a moment and click on the painting so you can enjoy a closer look at all the exotic items held within this one room of the artist’s home:)

  •  The haphazardly draped tiger and leopard skins…
  • The pinks and blues of the Persian rugs…
  • The shine on the copper kettle…
  • The reflections in the mirrors…
  • The brush strokes of the foliage seen through the windows to portray near and far..
  • and so many more…what do you notice?
James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836 – 1902 ), Hide and Seek, c. 1877, oil on wood, Chester Dale Fund, National Gallery of Art. Washington D.C.

I must admit, this painting evokes in me a bit of melancholy. As I gaze at the scene, I am reminded of those lovely Sunday afternoons of my childhood when we would come home after church to a pot roast that my mother had lovingly prepared and perfectly timed to greet us upon our arrival.

And after the fellowship of the family meal we would all retreat to different corners  of the house to let the lunch digest; sleep away the concerns of the week; or pour over the Sunday paper.

Why melancholy? Because something within me is thirsty for this kind of Sabbath tradition.

This week as we learn to live “Out of Control/In God’s Hands” I want to encourage to you take a Sabbath rest once a week and just allow yourself to regroup. Allow yourself to sit on the sidelines for awhile. Catch up with friends and family. Dream up new possibilities. Explore the events calendar of your local newspaper and lean into listen for God’s direction.

What does your heart tell you?

Who can you encourage or pray for this week?

Where can you best employ your energy?

I believe that learning to live in God’s Hands requires these precious days of Sabbath rest.

Remember even God rested on the seventh day…

Then God said, “I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. ~ Genesis 1: 29- 2:3

May God’s peace be with you this week:)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. debhumphreys says:

    I love this painting. One could study it for hours and still see something new. But your words about a Sabbath rest ring true and certainly good advice for us all.


  2. But don’t we tend to feel restless and guilty when we are forced into these periods of rest for any extended period. I know I do…so difficult to just be still and listen and see:)) Take care of your self dear sister! Thanks for reading:))


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