Dear Sabbath Seekers,
In my work with churches that are searching for a vision in which to carry out God’s will, I continue to be amazed at how few of them have actually gone to the scriptures for “in-sight.” They seek all kinds of gimmicks, tricks of the trade, and church growth programs to give their church’s the boost they need to attract new people. When I use scripture to help them formulate a vision, some of the members get rather perturbed that we are ‘wasting’ time reflecting and praying rather than planning a to do list.
And I am not relating this because I feel superior to them or haven’t fallen into the ‘get going now’ mentality in my own spiritual life. Oh no, I am relating this because this is pretty much how human beings operate when there is work to do. Shoulder to the grindstone, rolled up sleeves and a clip board are sure signs that something is happening. Head down in prayer…well, not so much.
God knew we would need to be told that withdrawing to pray, reflect and rest was a requirement not a suggestion. And even with a commandment and the example of the prophets and Jesus showing us just what God requires of us, we still think we have a better way of living life and seeking God’s will.What if keeping Sabbath is God’s way of making sure our lives are full, meaningful and productive? What if the commandment to keep Sabbath is not only a preparation for each week and a needed rest from our six days of labor but a metaphor for life itself?
In a recent article in the New York Times, Oliver Sacks, professor of Neurology at NYU and upon whom the movie Awakenings was based, wrote about Sabbath keeping. He recounts his family history in keeping Sabbath. As a member of an Orthodox Jewish family, paying heed to the call to Sabbath and all that entails was a vital part of his upbringing. Like many children when they grow up and leave home, however, he strayed from the concept of Sabbath keeping.
After being reacquainted with his cousin, Robert John Aumann, who was a Nobel prize winner, father and grandfather to 30 children, and an intellectual giant, he became reacquainted with Sabbath keeping. In an interview, his cousin Robert John spoke about the importance of Sabbath to him, “The observance of Sabbath is extremely beautiful…it is not even a question of improving society – it is about improving the quality of one’s own life.”
Keeping Sabbath allows us to connect to our life force, to restore ourselves to energy levels required to live out the week and to see the beauty all around us. And more…
Oliver Sacks has cancer and is dying. He concluded his article by saying “I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”
Sabbath – A weekly rest and re-connection with God is also a prelude to eternal rest with God when our work here on earth is done. Sabbath – A beautiful way to prepare ourselves for that final seventh day of rest after the six days of a life’s work are done.
“…And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4.7