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Thursday: The Sabbath and Eternal Rest — 4 Comments

  1. For most of us, Sabbath is a couple of hours of liturgy sandwiched into 24 hours of limited activity. As a kid I learned that you didn't run on Sabbath, and definitely didn't swim. You didn't talk to the neighbors just in case they mentioned the footy. You also ran into criticism from them if you made hay on Sunday. Much of what we do and don't do on Sabbath stems from the liturgy and practices of the Sunday keeping during the dark ages.

    I am not saying that what we do and don't do is wrong, but it is to a large extent unimaginative and all too often prohibitive. I have to admit that I enjoyed the Sabbaths that I spent during the Covid lockdowns. I spent the Sabbath mornings walking the bush tracks - about 10 km of them around here - and photographing birds. The people I met of the tracks during that time were, like me, isolating and were often just longing for a chat. So we chatted, at a safe distance of course. We shared our love of God's creation and we typically had no time limit.

    I discovered the true meaning of recreation; not game playing but re-creation. It was a restorative process. We often have high-powered theological descriptions of "Sabbath Rest" but there is nothing like the rest and restoration that comes from spending uncrowded time in nature. And just to show that my brain was still in the right place I would sometimes sit and type in my Sabbath School Net comment on my phone. (made me wish I had pointy fingers)

    I like to think that God really did have us in mind when he gave us the Sabbath. It was more than just a liturgical holy day, but a restorative day that makes the following week better.

    Jesus said:

    And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Mark 2:27 KJV

  2. As we read today’s lesson, both my husband and I recall those special Sabbath days when we took our young children camping. We lived in S. California, and during the winter months went out to Joshua Tree National Monument or one of the National campground areas. Other times, we went down to the beach. One of their favorites was Laguna Beach, with its tide pools where they could watch God’s creations move in the water. I believe a church and church fellowship is important; but I also believe in looking at God’s nature and seeing all that He has given us.

    Thank you, Maurice, for your insight each day. It truly helps as we study.

  3. The imagery in today's lesson was really powerful - it emphasized what Sabbath should really be. I will have to take the time to read Heschel's book.

    I'll admit that I'm more careless than I was as a child about really keeping the Sabbath sacred. No, I don't work or shop or go to parties, but the internet is always there, and I'll admit that it's easy for something to come to my mind, and then I google it, and suddenly I'm on a path of reading things that aren't really connected to spiritual things. It's not something I really like, but it happens.

    But, as I was reading today's lesson, it kind of hit me that these rules are what keeps Sabbath being the sanctuary it's meant to be. I can think of some times when I got reading the news, or whatever, and I soon found myself agitated and troubled. The Sabbath rest was gone. And so I will aim more and more to really keeping those things out of Sabbath.

    I'm not one to try to tell people what to do on Sabbath - every situation and person is so different. But I think the basic rule to live by is: "Does it enhance my relationship with God and my fellow humans?" and "Does it hinder anyone else from having a relationship with God and fellow humans?" If I can answer yes to the first question and no to the second, I think I'm on my way to experiencing what Sabbath is about.

  4. I believe that God grants me the freedom to choose whom I want to worship, rather than forcing me to follow Him as a tyrant would. There are some signs that were publicly left for everyone to see, such as the seventh day, which was given to us by God. The early Christian church used to worship on this day, but unfortunately, due to the mixing of religion and politics, this sign was distorted. However, we are still free to choose what we believe in. Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to show my appreciation to the Creator and humbly accept His guidance. Wishing you all a happy Sabbath.


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