I smile watching the world I left one month ago wake up to a brand new day as we are ending our Shabbat here in Israel. My family and I have spent an entire day in the very center of a gift. Shabbat (Sabbath) is something I didn’t hear a whole lot about growing up in the Church. In fact, it was usually left to merely a mention in childhood lessons about the Ten Commandments, Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8). Aside from that, the idea of a Sabbath seemed to be this abstract, archaic, and unattainable conceptualization. I don’t remember ever hearing from a pulpit “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13-14). In fact, most of the times that the Sabbath was mentioned, it was in a negative context, usually attached to the story of Jesus found in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. And while I am in full agreement with every word Jesus spoke concerning the Sabbath, what I feel the Church has missed is found in His final statement of that passage: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28).
The Sabbath was made for man! Here we are witness to the fact that on this precious day God intends for us to receive from him the gift of rest. As most of my friends on Facebook are Gentile believers in the God of Israel, I realize you are in no way “required” to keep Sabbath, but why wouldn’t you want to?! My prayer for you is that sometime this weekend you will set aside a block of time, free from errands, free from nagging guilt, and free from old mindsets to simply rest.
“Sabbath is time sanctified, time betrothed, time we perceive and receive and approach differently from all other time. Sabbath time is unlike every and any other time on the clock and the calendar. We are more intimate with it. We are more thankful for it. We are more protective of it and generous with it. We become more ourselves in the presence of Sabbath: more vulnerable, less afraid. More ready to confess, to be silent, to be small, to be valiant.” – Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God; Restoring Your Soul By Restoring Sabbath