Yesterday while pulling onto our church’s street, we saw one of our worship gathering’s families trying to cross: a father with two girls.
“Guess I shouldn’t hit them, huh? That probably would not be in the spirit of SuperBowl Sunday.”
“No, but you could play the game where you get points for knocking off hats or Bibles.”
We laughed in a very non-violent Quaker way. I then mentioned to Jason about Bible Fellowship on Wednesday.
“We were talking about ways we observe the Sabbath. That family stays home all day, doesn’t shop, utilizes leftovers. One of the kids naps, the other will — get this — sit for over an hour and read.”
“That’s so not fair.”
This family really wanted to rest: to tread lightly on the earth. On Wednesday, another friend shared about how they as a family felt that the Sabbath was not for working but for communing and celebrating, so they tended to get takeout, use paper plates, and invite friends and family over for a time of fellowship. I told Jason I’d like to experiment with the later “because I’ve done the former as a kid, and it isn’t all that fun” (yes, Mom and Dad, someday I will have gone to enough Journey to Wholenesses to be healed of my scars of youth :)).
That morning I had been thinking about the Sabbath some, especially as I turned on my computer. At Womens Bible Fellowship Lisa McMinn has been facilitating a discussion of her book The Contented Soul. One element of it includes observing the Sabbath: “Sabbath rest invites us to pause, to reflect on where we have been and where we are going . . . People who uphold the sabbath cease from doing that which they perceive as work . . . The sabbath gives us permission to set aside whatever we feel is essential to accomplish and to remember that the God who sustains us is abundant and sufficient. Sabbath rest is one of God’s good gifts, a discipline intended to bless us” (118-120). She mentioned how one of her family’s Sabbath day observances is not turning their computers on, giving themselves permission not to work or respond to emails. That sounds appealing, but can I get my itchy trigger finger to agree with my idealism?
The Sunday message was titled: “Do What Jesus Did: Focus on the Essentials” from Luke 6: 1-11. Christ was getting busted for doing no-nos on the Sabbath: letting his disciples pick grain to eat, healing someone of a non-life threatening issue. The idea is that Christ was not to be ruled by the nit picky laws of the Sabbath (many which the Pharisees created or interpreted rather than being declared from On High), but that Christ was the *LORD* of the Sabbath. The message sharer noted that Christ’s life was not marked by having a Sabbath day, but having a Sabbath week – month – year: a Sabbath lifestyle. If we are to follow the essentials, that includes following the Lord of the Sabbath in having that sort of life as well: a life marked by doing what the Father tells us, abiding, taking our hands off of the control stick.
Did you know that the Lord’s Sabbath day never ended? At least, it certainly looks that way in Genesis. Every creation day is marked by a “so ended the day, and began the next day. And that marked the first/second/third/so on day.” Except for the seventh day. On the day when God rested, stepped back, and said, “This is good,” — well, that day is never concluded in Genesis. God is still living in that Sabbath rest, and we are called to that as well! Adam and Eve kinda biffed it up for us when they decided to take control, and then we were exiled from that rest. But then Christ came, redeemed the situation, and we are once again able to exist in that Sabbath rest – actually, *called* to live in that rest – with Him and God. Wow.
So what does that mean for our daily lives? During open worship I was drawn to verses mentioned in the article my dad gave me on living a life of praise and thanksgiving. I couldn’t remember the exact verses, but knew they were in Hebrews. Turning there, I found a section on a Sabbath rest for the People of God. Resting: turning to Christ: abiding with God: releasing control (work): good stuff.
Do you observe the Sabbath? Do you feel like it’s a once-a-week thing or a life-thing? How do you abide in God’s rest?