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Friday: Further Thought – Sabbath: A Day of Freedom — 7 Comments

  1. I grew up with the notion that on Sabbath you didn't do a lot of things. My parents' most frequent instruction on Sabbath was, "Don't run!" And from the discussion I hear with others who have grown up as Seventh-day Adventists, they have grown up with similar instruction and attitudes. We need a game-changer in our attitude. There are two events that have occurred in my life that have helped me think differently. I have mentioned them before but I want to add them here to make us think about extending the horizon of our Sabbath experience:

    I witnessed the Jewish opening of Sabbath in a hotel in Italy. A large family group of Jews was at a table near us in the dining room and they sang songs and the children were involved in telling stories as they opened Sabbath. All this was done publically with the other occupants looking on in amazement. Rather than thinking that the Jews were interrupting the evening meal, our tour group was delighted with the enthusiasm that was expressed and the joy and happiness on the faces of all involved.

    Several years ago, I was highly involved in running church visuals. Almost every week I would do the visuals for church using video clips I had created as backgrounds and my photographs as illustrative adjuncts to the songs and hymns. Then suddenly we had a new minister, who did not want these things. Overnight I went from being heavily involved in church to being a body on a seat with nothing to do. In a fit of rebellious reaction, I accepted an invitation to take a talk on bird photography for a bird breeding club on Friday night. I went and I found myself talking to an enthusiastic audience about things that I really enjoyed doing on the Sabbath.

    In both these situations, when I really thought about it, the idea that came to the surface was that Sabbath is eminently shareable. So often we think of the Sabbath as something that separates us. We regale ourselves with stories about people being persecuted for keeping Sabbath. We spend a lifetime defending the Sabbath, largely for our own benefit, and we spend an incredible amount of effort telling our children was is acceptable and not acceptable behavior on Sabbath. But we miss the fact that Sabbath is shareable as something that is tangible and meaningful to others. To me, that is the game-changer. Sabbath became a healing experience for me.

    • Maurice,

      Your story triggered a memory. About a decade ago, my family went on a tour to Israel. On Friday evening, we arrived at the temple site about an hour before Sabbath. As more people arrived, small groups began singing and dancing together in small rings of people. The small rings of singing dancers joined together in larger rings. And when the song ended, the rings would break up, only to start again with another song. (By the way, the men and women were segregated by a wall, but were doing the same thing.) People outside the rings clapped their hands and sang along.

      Some soldiers who had just come off duty (dressed in army fatigues and carrying their automatic rifles) and were singing in one of the rings noticed a group of boys standing by themselves (they had just finished their Bar Mitzvah). They broke out of their ring, went over to the boys, lifted them to their shoulders and rejoined their ring. You should have seen the smiles and joy on the faces of those boys.

      It was one huge joyous celebration of the coming Sabbath. The only thing that kept me from joining them is that I did not know any of the Hebrew songs they were singing.


  2. Infinite Use - Sabbath is of infinite use. It began in creation, restored in redemption and it will be kept in glorification.
    Enough - Is Jesus enough for the sin of the world? Absolutely. “With your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation."
    Sabbath - A day to rest In Christ apart from our labor. Once rested we take His yoke and do His work.
    Equality - Sabbath celebration treats everyone equal.
    boundaries - The mark of Sabbath must have a clear boundary defining an end to the work day and beginning of the day with creator of the universe to do His bidding without distractions of the worldly affair.
    Trust - Reliability on someone else. Who is asking us to trust? Abraham trusted in God to raise his son from death. How is the relationship?
    Suffering - Those who are capable of relieving the suffering and pain of others must do so regardless of the day.

    Please read this weeks Inside Story to see the hand of God's leading on those who depend on Him.

  3. There are those who feel the Sabbath is restrictive and prison-like. How very sad, that so long after Jesus lived on earth, the Pharisees' influence is still effective! Jesus came to show that the Sabbath is a gift and a blessing, and I find it so. There's a special feeling of rest and security which comes with sunset on Friday night.

  4. Christ was exasperated by their misunderstanding of the *sign*, the feeding of the five thousand. They were following Him expecting to be fed natural physical food, as in the wilderness. He chastised: “... Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”(Jn 6:26,27)
    God gifted Israel of the flesh the Sabbath as a *sign* that He, God, is the Sanctifier (Ex 31:13-17; Ezk 20:12,20); as a memorial of redemption, deliverance, rest from Egyptian slavery (Dt 5:15). The Sabbath brought natural physical rest to Israel. It was LIKE God’s rest after creation, which is/was Spiritual. God swore that flesh Israel would “not enter” His rest (Ps 95:11). Whatever was of any value, merit, or worth in the Old Covenant or Old Testament testified of Christ Messiah to come , to be fulfilled in Him (Rom 3:21; Heb 10:1). In His incarnation Christ performed many miracles on the Sabbath bringing deliverance, rest from some of the *symptoms* of sin. These miracles were *signs* of the greater deliverance from sin slavery to come through Christ.
    The woman with terrible scoliosis - “... and this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for 18 years, should she not have been loosed/released from this *bond* on the Sabbath day?” (Lk 13:15,16). The man at the pool of Siloam got rest from his 38 years impotency.
    Christ came to this world to destroy the works of the devil, to take sins away (1 Jn 3:5). He is therefore the Sanctifier (Heb 2:11) that Sabbath refers and points to. He came declaring: “Come unto me all you that labor... and I will give you rest... to your souls.” (Matt 11:28-30)
    All who believe in Him have entered into God’s rest at creation, the promised rest (Heb 4:1-7)
    Is a believer justified before God in the Sabbath of the Old Covenant? Is the believer now obligated to that Sabbath? Hasn’t Christ, our promised rest, come? Or has he...

    • Possible the question we need to ask is: have we come to the place where we recognize the blessing of the Sabbath rest is sharing it with others? Or, are we selfishly keeping it to ourselves?

  5. If we believe that the Sabbath is a delight...a day of ...hmmmm, celebration, then perhaps delightful celebrations will attract other believers as well as non-believers? We are learning how to love and be inclusive, right? And God is good, all the time...perhaps we can show it as Seven-Day Adventists.


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