Making room for Sabbath
Sabbath, a day of rest; modeled by God in the creation account, commanded by God on Mt. Sinai and explained by Jesus as he walked with his disciples. Honoring the Sabbath is not just a cessation of activity. This might rest your physical body, but Sabbath is intended to refresh your whole self – body, mind and soul. How can we enter into the rest that re-engages us with God and God’s ways?
1. Sabbath is bracketed by thanksgiving and praise. Begin your day by recognizing God’s constant love. Even before you rise from your bed announce to yourself, “This day is God’s gift of love to me.” Spend time telling God and each other about God’s goodness. Recall God’s wondrous works; stand in awe of God’s creation, be humbled by God’s work of salvation on your behalf, rejoice that God’s work continues to transform you into whom God created you to be. Singing is a great way for the joy of the Lord to be experienced. Raise your voice in praise through the day.
Psalm 92:1-5 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!
2. Sabbath reminds us of the end of the story (part one). God’s plan is for all evil to cease. It may seem as if the wicked have won the day. Worn down by both global and personal injustices in our world, it is easy to get discouraged and lose hope. This is another reason we need Sabbath rest. As we ponder God’s works and listen to God’s words, we are reoriented to the truth: God’s enemies shall perish. Evil will end. God’s righteousness will prevail. Remembering this give us courage to face the day and strength to fight the good fight.
Ps 92:6-11 The dullard cannot know, the stupid cannot understand this: though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever, but you, O Lord, are on high forever. For your enemies, O Lord, for your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
3. Sabbath reminds us of the end of the story (part two). Evil will perish, but God’s children will flourish. Life will continue to grow within us. Age will not diminish our beauty and fruitfulness. We are forever planted in God’s house.
Ps 92:12- 15 The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Our Sabbath day ends with recounting the many ways God’s faithfulness has been our rock and our salvation. We can sleep in peace, having been refreshed by God’s oil of gladness and truth.