The Art of Sabbath

imagesaking a proper sabbath is an art form. I readily confess that we are under no obligation to observe the sabbath. It was a shadow of a greater reality, namely that rest we find in Christ. Nevertheless, we find ourselves in perpetual need of this antiquated gift. Our Lord proclaimed that man was not made for the sabbath, but rather sabbath was instituted for man. As such, one might assume that a gift from a good and gracious God would serve to better man’s estate. Those of us who have embraced the principle of the gift would concur. Yet make no mistake, we do not labor to discover if we ought to observe this principle on Saturday (the original Sabbath), or Sunday (that day referred to in scripture as the Lord’s day), instead we seek to enjoy it in the spirit with which it was given – as a gift.

The weekly sabbath principle may be understood as one day in seven set aside to relax the body and mind, to drink deeply of God’s buffet of benefits, and to bear eternal fruit through good works (specifically rendered to those suffering injustice and poverty). It should include repentance of any known sin, for drawing near to God serves to expose our faults.

With these things being understood, let us turn our attention to the Sabbath as an art form. I consider it art more than science because a proper sabbath may be taken in as many ways as there are people to observe it. One may find great relaxation springs from a few hours of yard work, another may find it the epitome of labor. Personally, writing is a guaranteed way to heal, organize and relax my mind. Others would find writing the chief of stresses.

A sabbath should be a valiant attempt we give ourselves to those things that, at our best, would dominate our lives seven days a week. Scripture meditation, gospel reflection, and avoiding all excesses. We should thoroughly enjoy God and those who bear His image, we should find great pleasure in the work of His hands. We should worship verbally, pray fervently, give generously, relieve the pain of others mercifully.

One last thing, intentionally avoid giving thought to how others observe the principle of the sabbath. Let each follower of Christ unwrap the Father’s gift and enjoy it. But don’t let it go unwrapped.