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Sabbath: The Rhythms of Rest — 9 Comments

  1. Conference Papers
    This pile of paper has about 500 printed sheets in it. It is the results of a conference on the observation of the edges of the Sabbath above the arctic circle in Norway. The conference was convened around 1980 under the direction of the Northern Europe-West Africa Division by Walter Scragg. The papers, written by some of our most well-known theologians argue the various ways that the edges of the Sabbath can be observed.

    It makes for intimidating reading. I have scanned most of it and read a couple of the papers in detail. It raises the question as to why it takes a committee of about 8 people to write 8 papers, supposedly limited to 5000 words each (I think theologians missed arithmetic classes at school) to decide what constitutes the edges of the Sabbath for a few families of Seventh-day Adventists who are challenged by the fact the sun does not set for about 3 months of the year and doesn’t rise for another 3 months.

    It raises the question: have we become so theological we have forgotten the very purpose of the Sabbath? Are we so concerned about legally keeping the Sabbath? In the next couple of weeks we will examine what the words “rest” and “holy” mean in the context of Sabbath-keeping. Hopefully we will better understand the purpose, the joy and the peace of Sabbath keeping beyond the theological wordiness and committee determination.

    By the way, the conference did conclude, and a recommendation was made. Maybe I will tell you the result when we come to the end of the study about Sabbath rest in a couple of week’s time. I think you may be surprised.

      • I very much doubt it Christian. The conference was held in 1980 or thereabouts, well before the Internet and electronic documents. All of the papers are typewritten and I think by the time electronic documentation came along, the interest in the topic had been lost. I actually visited Tromso on a Sabbath a couple of years ago while on a Hurtugrutten tour on Norway. The church was within walking distance from the port so we walked up there. Unfortunately it was afternoon and nobody was around. I would have liked to ask if the current congregation had been impacted by the issue.

  2. Not another lesson on the Sabbath! If that thought has crossed your mind, I would invite you to consider a possibility...

    Could there be something more to the significance of Sabbath than is typically recognised?

    Hopefully some digging and reflecting over the next couple of weeks will help uncover greater awareness and appreciation. Here is a starting point for your consideration across the next couple of weeks:

    *) On the 7th day, the God who created our space-time continuum essentially also entered our space-time continuum to be with us in a special way for a special day each week. Why?

    *) What is really being referred to in Ezekiel 20:19, 20? What can you unpack from these verses? Is there a connection between these verses and Exodus 20:2 that is the preface to the ten 'commandments' - including the Sabbath 'commandment'.

    *) The Sabbath was made for man - not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Why did Jesus add the last part of this statement? How does this fit with what is being outlined in the above 2 consideration points?

    Happy digging and considering...

  3. The lesson writer says: ‘God wanted this day to be a time for us to stop and deliberately ‘enjoy’ life – a day *to be and not do*, to celebrate the gift of grass, air, wildlife, water, people, and most of all, the Creator of every good gift.’

    I thought about: ‘To be and not do’, and found that this expresses the dilemma/struggle of man’s mind in a nutshell; *awareness of being* is the impetus – i.e. - the force or energy with which a ‘body’ moves; it influences our mind to act on what we become aware of, leading us *to do*. This is what our mind is designed to do as it directs the body’s actions.

    I see Sabbath as an invitation to focus on who to be in God’s heart and mind! I think the awareness 'to be’ needs to go further and deeper than to enjoy His Creation; it needs to go toward becoming aware of the unique relationship man shares with his Creator and our life’s purpose.
    I see Sabbath as God’s extra special blessing for all mankind to help ‘reset/calibrate’ the balance between ‘to be and do’.

  4. The only time humans are called to rest spiritually is on the seventh day. This rest can be described as a day of reflection of the six. A day to reflect on how we lived with and interacted with our Maker as well as those around us. Is it totally impossible to have a blessed sabbath or a happy sabbath on the seventh when we did not have a relationship with Jesus during the week and when we despised our neighbors in many different ways for six days. Did we forgive, feed, clothes and tell the love of Jesus to a soul who perished in sin? What can we tell Jesus on the sabbath?

    • Do remember Matthew 11:28

      Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

      and Mark 6:31.

      And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

  5. We have discussed the Sabbath more or less in the background as a reminder of God's love in giving us rest in Christ in so many ways and aspects. This week we will study the Sabbath in the forefront, directly if you prefer rather than indirectly.

    As we press forward in the confidence of His love, joy will be ours, in the sunshine of His presence. With joy, sunshine, and confidence of love, comes rest, far more than shutting eyes and dozing off.

    I do believe to be in His presence we accept His invitation to enter His rest. "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
    Hebrews 4:9‭-‬10.


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