Dear Sabbath Seekers,
I recently saw a question on a chat board asking if Sabbath keeping was considered a sin for Christians. After doing a double take and verifying that it said what I thought it said, I paused to consider what could make someone think that.
Did this questioner feel the Old Testament had no authority for Christians? Then, all the commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures are null and void and I don’t think that has merit.
Did they feel that because Jesus said Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath that somehow it was not necessary? I don’t think Jesus words seem to negate the need for a Sabbath. He is just taking the legalism out of it.
Or, did this person feel that Sunday as the Lord’s Day had co-opted the need for Sabbath keeping? Perhaps…
Historically at the outset of Christianity, both Saturday, as Sabbath, and Sunday, as the Lord’s Day of Resurrection were observed. Eventually, Christians dropped the Saturday Sabbath and focused on Sunday as the day to worship and rest.
So perhaps in a literal sense his question has merit. However, in the spirit of the fourth commandment, the need for rest and God’s giving it to us as a command and a gift still holds true. The spirit of this law is not about the legalisms that have grown up around the Sabbath such as no reading, playing or enjoying yourself. The Spirit of this command offers us a life-giving pause, time to rest, reconnect with God and loved ones, be healed of our busyness and to give thanks for the bounty and beauty of life that God has shared with us.
I don’t see how that could ever become a sin.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3.16-17
Dear Sabbath Seekers,
I have been working on simplifying my space. That is a nice way of saying I am cleaning out, throwing away and organizing a lot of stuff that has accumulated over the years.
And in order to make sure I actually stick to this plan (I’ve had good intentions for years without success), I have hired a home organizer and she is holding my feet to the fire.
The more I get rid of the lighter I feel and seeing a once jumbled basement become neat and orderly is a joy beyond words…I know it sounds silly but it is!! Tomorrow we tackle the storage room upstairs.
This purging and shedding also coincides with my working through the 7 spiritual disciplines. The discipline for this month is simplify. I just love these little God winks. Trust me I didn’t connect the two until just a few minutes ago. I was so caught up in the process of both that I missed the connection. Sigh.
As I reflected on the physical and environmental aspect of simplifying I realized that it could be applied to Sabbath as well. How many times have I said or heard “I can’t take a 24 hour Sabbath because I have too much to do”? Having too much to do is another dimension of too much stuff in my life. If I simplified my calendar, what would my excuse be for not taking a Sabbath? If I simplified my life, what things would I pay more attention to? If I simplified my life, what healing would take place that I am avoiding? If I simplified my life, which relationships would improve and which ones would be tossed out with the other stuff?
Perhaps it is not that we are too busy to take a Sabbath but that we keep busy in order to avoid that time of rest, reflection and renewal? Perhaps.
I’m going to try a friendly experiment and see what happens when I take a 24 Sabbath rest once a week. In doing so I may learn just what things really can be eliminated from my to do list permanently, what things are precious and life-giving and what things have been blocking my own spiritual pathway.
And I know this is going to be very hard…even harder than throwing out my children’s report cards from 1st and 2nd grade. I wonder who I can hire to hold my accountable to this decluttering process?
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” Proverbs 29.18 The Message