Easter - 2018

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Steps to avoiding temptation : Renewal and Rest

The Sabbath Renewal is both a commandment and a gift. It is a day of freedom and release from labor. It is described by Jews as a visiting queen to be greeted with festivity and on going Shabbat, “joy of Sabbath.” At the arrival of the Sabbath, the home is transformed into sacred space, and the meal becomes “a glimpse of human life as it should be, in the design of God” (Harvey Cox).

Rabbi Abraham Heschel describes the Sabbath observance as a cathedral, constructed not of brick and mortar, but of time. The Sabbath helps us escape the tyranny of time. Heschel says that “Judaism tries to foster the vision of life as a pilgrimage to the seventh day; the longing for the renewal all the days of the week,” and a taste of the world to come… “Six days we wrestle with the world; on the Lord’s Day we care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.”

A believer and follower of Jesus defy disobedience by observing a day of renewal.

St. Augustine stated; “Our hearts are restless, until we find rest in Jesus.” The Sabbath Rest sanctifies time through rest and inaction, a “sacred stasis.” We don’t “keep” the Sabbath; the Sabbath keeps us. Work is a gift from God, but work is not our God. The Sabbath is a day to recover from the stresses of the week. However, weekend leisure without the worship of God is not the plan! We worship because we need it, God deserves it, and Scripture commands it.

By observing Sabbath, we are no longer slaves to the “tyranny of the urgent.” We set aside our anxieties and busyness, our pursuit of more, and we recognize that our refuge is God alone. We are not alone, or on our own.

There’s a danger: We can externally observe a day of rest while remaining restless. I know of people who sit in church taking notes, not on the sermon, but for tasks they need to accomplish. They’re unable to disengage from the work-week, and they’re watching the clock; they can’t wait till Monday to fret over their work. Such an inauthentic Sabbath provides no rest. All the while 
God says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Even thinking about work should be avoided. We need to rest from the very thought of labor, and relax without guilt.

A believer and follower of Jesus defies disobedience by observing a day of renewal and by resting. You Know I love ya, Don

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