Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Just some thoughts on the Sabbath,

The Sabbath. I refer centrally in my ideas about the Sabbath to Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees when He says that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for rest, and for the meditiation upon God and His Word. That being said, I am not at all a stickler for when one takes a Sabbath, just that one takes it, and does what one ought to with it. Rest, Christian fellowship, and worship/communion/contemplation of the Lord. We Christians play pretty fast and loose with the day it falls on anyway, as it seems we changed it from Saturday to Sunday right in the begining. Biologically speaking, we need rest and recuperation for our physical bodies. Spiritually, we need to be with God, and give ourselves to Him in a wholehearted manner regularly, and more than a daily prayer and devotion time can suffice for. Emotionally and psychologically in Our Time, where there is no liturgy to life, nothing in our days that is set, realiable or restful, no places filled with peaceful silence and solitude, the Sabbath seems all the more 'made for man.' Moreover, in a society so self-absorbed, isolated (have you seen how many people live their lives between a set of earphones?), and ultimately lonely as ours, it might be very good for us, and them, to set aside a day which is largely possessed largey of being loved (most of time by people who find us remarkably unloveable save for the Grace of God) and loving other people (most of whom we find unloveable because of their vast superiority to us).

I suppose in terms of my personal theological concerns I see the Sabbath, hopefully taken on Sunday with other believers for the sake of fellowship, as an aspect of our prophetic-witness-to-the-culture. Mary is right to make note of the nature of our society, and its endless busy-ness and movement. We are more materially productive in one day on average in our society, than a person in the Middle Ages was in a week or a month. We produce fantastic amounts of...well...everthing, but still we never take time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We run ourselves ragged in pursuits of things, even lofty and noble things for some of us, but never take time to contemplate He Who Is the ultimate Source and Goal of all things Noble (and Humble). Funny how we call our amusements 'distractions' without knowing what we are saying, no? In our time of endless busy-ness, noise, and entertainment-all things that insulate, deafen, and anesthetize us to reality, we need to be daring and take the time to be quiet, unentertained, un-distracted.
To face the more ultimate quesitons about life, and what is really important. For the believer this is a serious, but at bottom, very joyful business. As Christians who reguarly take time to contemplate God, ultimate goodness/beauty, and the like, it seems strange to think of this, but most people in the world don't do those things! They have no opportunity, nor any realization that they should because its good for them. If people took more Sabbaths, and did 'sabbatical things,' I think our culture would be healthier, and more people would turn to God, because for a moment they would take their eyes off their workbenches, off their keyboards, away from their tools and books,and for just one day a week look heavenward and see more than the harried rat race around them. For the Christian, as I said above, this is serious but joyful business, to quietly face ones own evil, and then to face the majestic and fearsome grace of God. For them it is a call to repentance and praise. For the unbeliever, left in the roaring silence of a still solitude that is not a peaceful silence but one dreadfully filled with the all icy wind-blown emptiness of an eternity without God, it is a wake-up call. How good for both parties to have to face such things regularly


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