Monday, January 19, 2009

Sabbath

I forgot to mention in my last post that it was the 100th post. Do I win a prize?


Our pastors are currently delivering a sermon series inspired by A.J. Jacobs' book, The Year Of Living Biblically. In this book, Mr. Jacobs tells about his experiences on his quest to follow every rule and precept in the Bible for an entire year. This Sunday Pastor Dan talked about keeping Sabbath.


Honoring the Sabbath day to keep it holy has been my favorite commandment ever since early on in 2002. Up until then, I had subconsiously viewed the 10 commandments, and all those other God-rules, as punitive. As in, God gave us all these rules because He doesn't want us to have any fun (subconsiously). Beginning in the fall of 2001 (hmm, can you guess why I remember so clearly when it was? I bet you can if you're related to me through DNA), I participated in a Disciple Bible study: the red book, during which I read 80% of the Bible in 34 weeks. Early in 2002 (don't remember when quite as clearly), we came to a discussion of the Sabbath. Sure we had touched on it earlier on, in Exodus, but now we had come to the place in the Gospel when Jesus says, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I came to realize then, that the Sabbath is a gift, and that all of the rules God has given us are for our benefit, not for God's.


God realized that we would be this way: that we would work and work and work and wear ourselves out. God realized that His example of resting on the 7th day of creation would not be enough for us to take the hint that resting is OK. God realized that even a strong suggestion to rest one day out of seven would not be enough to get us to do it, so God commanded us. Granted, this commandment, of all of them, is probably the most ignored (all right, I suppose the idol one is too, but most people don't realize they're ignoring that one).

So I view Sabbath as a gift, but I also think keeping Sabbath is a matter of faith. God has promised to provide for all of our needs (and, yes, rest is one of our needs). If we feel like we must work every day, we must not believe that God will actually provide for all of our needs.

I say honoring the Sabbath day is my favorite commandment, but it is also difficult for me to keep at this time. Since my job is taking care of my three children, I am always on duty. I don't get a rest day. Sure I avoid housework on Sundays (and for my reward the house is always even more of a disaster on Monday morning). I've even given up cooking on most Sundays, but the kids are always there. I suppose that most folks would say that honoring Sabbath to keep it holy means that this one day is set apart from the others: that it should look and feel different, and in that way I'm keeping the commandment, and I suppose it's true. Sunday is a family day around here, but what I really want from Sabbath is rest.

So my question to you is: how do you honor the Sabbath?

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