Monday, February 06, 2012

A Thought

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God … for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”  Exodus 20:8-10, 11

There are some key words in this Commandment that should be noted by the faithful.  First is the word “remember” which implies that the hallowed Day already existed before Sinai.  Second is “the” Sabbath day as opposed to “a” Sabbath.  Finally is the “seventh” day which is marked as the end of a week; a specific day of the week regarded by the Lord as sanctified and holy.

Over the years we have allowed a designation between the “Jewish” Sabbath and the “Christian” Sabbath for many reasons, not least of which is the Day of the Resurrection of the Christ; yet we refer to the same God and Father.  We uphold the other Commandments as perpetually valid, but this one Commandment we play rather fast and loose with.  We have changed “the” Sabbath to “a” Sabbath, meaning we will observe this Commandment when it suits us.  We will observe when it fits into our already hectic schedules – which misses the whole point of the Gift entirely!

We should not confuse a rigid point of law with what is clearly a divine Gift, and we must also remember that keeping and observing Sabbath as a community of faith goes far beyond simply attending worship although this is very much a part of the whole (and the holy!).  In the Sabbath we are forbidden to do any kind of labor, which is not unlike a parent who “insists” a toddler take her nap.  Wisdom dictates that our bodies need rest, but theology dictates that we need to reconnect to our Holy Father.  Our spirits can become as easily fatigued as our physical bodies!  We must also realize how easily we can get caught up in the so-called “rat race” and become disconnected from who we really are: children of the Most High God.

Above all else we must embrace this notion: we did not “earn” this Sabbath.  It is more evidence of the abundant grace that is imparted to us from the One who cares more for us than anyone on this earth can or will care.  The Sabbath is a Gift, not a test; yet observing the Sabbath (or not) is a clear indication to the rest of our community how we graciously receive grace – not to our own ends or our own good, but to His glory and His honor which is attested to in His good gifts.


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