Thursday, June 26, 2014

"A day meant for our great good"

She believes Sunday is the Sabbath but everything else she writes is right. It would be nice to be able to debate the correct day rather than continuing to ignore the blessing altogether:
.... Sabbath...could be seen like this—all restriction and rules. It could be counted as just one more obliging way to pay the cantankerous piper. And maybe that was my fear: that in the practice of rest (and the dutiful effort to please God), I'd only find more anxiety in the piles of the undone.

But the Scripture never portrays the Sabbath as a dreary obligation. The Pharisees, of course, had wrung the joy out of it with their legalistic impulse. They were the first to criticize Jesus' disciples when they plucked heads of grain on the Sabbath to eat. "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" (Mark 2:24) Jesus rebukes them, reminding them that by their accounting, King David would have been a law-breaker. He was a man who entered the house of God and, because he was hungry, ate the holy bread of the Presence. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," instructed Jesus (v. 27). Jesus insists that the Sabbath command hasn't been given for God's good—but for ours.

Ten years ago, I took a risk on this: that God meant something for my great good in his invitation to mute, if only temporarily, the noise of my to-dos. So now I don't fold laundry on Sabbath. I don't plow through email on Sabbath. I don't tackle long overdue household or work projects. These restrictions aren't rules to which I oblige myself. Rather, they are invitations.

Sabbath is a day meant for our great good, "the day in which we pause our striving and start abiding," write John Pattison and C. Christopher Smith in their fine book, Slow Church. Sunday is the day we risk on the strange notion (the gospel) that we can be loved and cherished by God for doing absolutely nothing.

As Pattison and Smith write, "Sabbath is an exercise in radical grace: in the midst of our sin and brokenness, God loves us. Our creator God looks down at us with absolute love; we set aside the Sabbath to meet that gaze." .... [more]