Sacred Hours is a devotional book explicitly focusing on the Sabbath. Unlike other devotionals, the structure helps you appreciate the untapped benefits and blessings of Sabbath observance.
The author, Sharon Platt-McDonald, invites you into a reflection and an evaluation as you use this material for your vespers.
The format is epistolary, writings compiled weekly over a year of which I was a recipient. Reading it, I discovered new ways to value the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Sharon draws you into a reflection mode to help you enjoy the Sabbath meaningfully.
SD – Sharon, you have written several books over the years. Why a book focusing on the Sabbath?
SPM – Sacred Hours is dedicated to my beloved late parents, who diligently taught me the beauty of the Sabbath, and to love the God of the Sabbath.I wanted to capture the essence of the Sabbath, not just from a theological standpoint, but through storytelling, highlighting my personal experiences and reflections on what the Sabbath means to me.
SD – You captioned the book – 'Sacred Hours: 52 Sabbath Reflections for Your Devotional Time'. What was the reason for that title choice?
SPM – Sabbath provides an enriching opportunity for reflective moments as we look back over the past week and all that has transpired, then pause to thank God for bringing us safely through the previous six days.
The book title highlights the weekly 24 hours set aside for 'consecrated time' with God, highlighting His centrality in Sabbath worship. These sacred hours afford us an uninterrupted time of connectivity, enriching our relationship with our Creator God.
SD – You mentioned that the book was written as a dedication to your late parents. Can you expand a bit more on that?
SPM – Yes. I dedicated this reflective devotional to the memory of my late parents, whose faithful commitment to daily family worship affirmed the tenets of our faith for my siblings and me. The godly influence, devout beliefs and practice of my beloved mother and father engendered enriching moments with God during our weekly Sabbath observance and throughout the week.
Those foundational lessons learnt in childhood now frame the content and context of Friday evening worship and Sabbath evening vespers in our home. My husband Denzel and I treasure these scheduled special times with God as we express gratitude to Him through our worship. It is the high point of our week.
SD –How did you go about formulating the devotionals?
SPM – The compilation of each devotional is an augmented version of some of the Friday evening musings on my experience of the Sabbath, shared with friends and family over the years. This book results from their requests to have those devotional thoughts published.
I wrote it to enable readers to reflect on their own Sabbath experience.
SD – I found the different segments of the book quite interesting. Tell us about that and why you included that layout as you did.
SPM – Using the indicated headings on the right-hand side of each page, the reader is offered an opportunity to take a moment to pause and think about what they have just read. They are then invited to write a brief reflective response and conclude with a gratitude prayer in the space provided. As individuals pause to make a personal application and register their thankfulness to God, I believe this exercise will enhance their connection with God.
SD – Who is your target audience?
SPM – When I set out to write this book, it was geared towards enriching one's devotional time and experience with God each Sabbath. However, as I progressed the manuscript, I realised that Sacred Hours could be used to take new believers on a journey of developing their personal worship time and experiencing the Sabbath the way God intended.
It then became evident that this publication could also be used as an evangelistic resource to share Sabbath's blessings with someone searching for God. It will ignite their curiosity and interest in God as they discover who He is and why the Sabbath is essential for our holistic well-being. Additionally, as they uncover the various aspects of the Sabbath, I pray they will discover the multiple blessings it brings to their lives.
SD – What would you like the reader to gain from this publication?
SPM– Sacred Hoursinvites you to pause from the harried existence of daily life, retreat from the distractions, demands and stressors of the week, to take the 'upward look' as you rest in these hallowed hours of the Sabbath. I would love the reader to feel refreshed and uplifted as they are reminded that in each 7-day cycle, God provides us with this holistic gift that enriches every facet of our lives. I pray that our worship each Sabbath will reveal a deeper insight into our wonderful God and yield a more intimate relationship with Him.
You can purchase copies of Sacred Hours via: https://lifesourcebookshop.co.uk/product/sacred-hours-52-sabbath-reflections-for-your-devotional-time/ or at any LifeSource bookstore.