Dear Sabbath Seekers,
I really think that Easter is the ultimate Sabbath. Easter may come as close as Christians get to the essence of a Sabbath day of rest, celebration and worship and here is why…
We stop what we are doing to celebrate. For many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, Easter is a time to celebrate the new life that is bursting around us. It is day where you will find more people out for a walk, attending a special event, or strolling the public parks and gardens. Sabbath was meant to a day that is set apart and different from the other six days. It was a day set apart to celebrate all of God’s providence and gifts.
We attend worship. Easter is a big attendance day at church. Like Christmas, Easter is a day for worship with the family even if you haven’t found yourself in church since Christmas. (Not a judgment just an observation from years in the pulpit). Sabbath worship was the highlight of the day.
We dress up. The days of Easter bonnets may be gone, but there is still something about Easter that makes us want to dress up in a bright, new outfit of pastels and pinafores. Our Easter outfits are perfect for Easter but we often don’t wear them on any other day except Easter. On Sabbath special clothes were worn that weren’t worn during the week.
We prepare special foods. Lamb, egg dishes, or once a year desserts grace our tables and family favorites are requested for Easter Dinner. The specialty foods of Shabbat were traditional and eagerly awaited as dinner was prepared.
We share our dinner with family and friends. Gathering around the Easter table whether at home or in a restaurant brings family and friends together to share the holiday. The same was true of the Shabbat meal. Inviting friends and even strangers to share the meal with them was a common practice of the Jews.
We express joy, gratitude and love. The ringing proclamation that “Christ is Risen, Indeed” fills churches with joyous voices of gratitude and an outpouring of love. The prayers of Shabbat lift up gratitude to God for their life as the chosen people and to remind them of all that God has done for them.
We experience the depth of God’s love for us. As Christians stand in awe at the entrance to the empty tomb and take in the magnitude of the resurrection and it what it means for us, so do the Jews remember the passover and God’s saving act in the Exodus.
We surround ourselves with the beauty of nature. At Easter time buds are pushing up out of the earth after a long winter’s sleep and the colors of Spring replace the starkness of long, dark winter days. Flowers fill sanctuaries as well as grocery stores and florist shops. Sabbath honors the creator of all of earth’s beauty and bounty and spending time in the out of doors was a Sabbath delight.
There is one little problem with this comparison….Sabbath is meant to be a day of rest for everyone. For some folks (women and pastors especially)…it is not always day of rest. So, here’s my Sabbath Moment suggestion…Pitch in and lend them a hand so no one carries the entire workload on this most exciting day of the Christian calendar.
May you be blessed this day and may new life find its way into your heart and mind.
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”