Saturday, July 11, 2020

Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose

Rev Herbert E. Saunders on Sabbath rest:
"Six days of labor will feed and clothe the body; Sabbath labor will starve the soul." (AJC Bond) The underlying principle and God-ordained purpose of the Sabbath is rest. Ordained at creation for God's own rest, it remains therefore as a rest day for the people of God. The idea of rest has high Biblical authority, and it means far more than just physical relaxation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes : "In the Bible 'rest' really means more than 'having a rest.' It means rest after the work is accomplished, it means completion, it means the perfection and peace of God in which the world rests, it means transformation, it means turning our eyes absolutely upon God's being God and towards worshipping him." And Heschel writes: "'Menuha' which we usually render with 'rest' means here much more than withdrawal from labor and exertion, more than freedom from toil, strain or activity of any kind. 'Menuha' is not a negative concept but something real and intrinsically took a special act of creation to bring it into being, ...the universe would be incomplete without it. What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose." This idea of the Sabbath is meaningful to modern man. Although leisure time is expanding, and the work-week is gradually diminishing, there is a need for this consecrated idea of rest—this act of putting aside one day for the unique refreshment of one's body and soul. Consecrated rest, thus understood, demands also consecrated work—six days of worldly toil that give one the satisfaction of having completed his assigned task in God's plan. The Sabbath gives time for one to reflect on the accomplishments of his work and to glory in their completion. ....
Herbert E. Saunders, The Sabbath: Symbol of Creation and Re-creation, American Sabbath Tract Society, Plainfield, N.J., 1970.

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