Claiming the Sabbath

Recently, I preached on the topic of “Claiming the Sabbath.” The Sabbath is

God’s gift to us for two basic reasons. First of all, it is for our benefit. It is God’s way of saying “take a rest, take a break from the routine and busyness of our lives for our own sake so

that we can be renewed, re-energized.” Second, we need the Sabbath to help keep our focus on God, and on doing the things that help us grow in our faith. It is our way, as the psalmist reminds us, to “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Early on, the Christian church made Sunday our Sabbath Day. Why? Because it was the day of the week that Jesus came out of the tomb of death. Therefore, each Sunday was to be a celebration of the resurrection, like a “mini- Easter.”

For us, Sunday is our day to come together as the church, as the Body of Christ. We do this so we can hear and study the Word, and to commune and be in fellowship together, and to worship and give thanks to God.

Yes, Sundays offer us lots of choices, especially in our part of the world. It is so important for us to have family times, or to go to the lake or beach, or take a walk in the woods. Those are the kinds of activities that can be “Sabbath breaks” for us. But God wants to be important in our lives too. One of the commandments God gave to Moses for his chosen people was this: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Sunday is our day for Sabbath, our day to focus on God and the disciplines that help us grow our faith.

From my perspective, I have come to think of summer as kind of a “Sabbath season.” As a pastor, it has al- ways been a good time after a busy year to lighten the schedule, enjoy the outdoors, catch up on my read- ing, take vacation, and clear the mind, so to speak. It is also a good time to step away from the busyness so I can be ready for the busy fall and winter.

But summer is winding down and school starts back in just a few days, and once more our lives
will fall into those needful routines, whether we are ready or not. And as we do, may I make a plea. Let us remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy through “our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness,” as the people of God. May we covenant to make it God’s day.

May we come together in this place on Sunday for our sakes… and for Jesus Christ.

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