What about investing in a ‘summer Sabbath’? Part 1: Creation
This summer as a church we are taking an extended pause in our centrally planned and run events. Lockdown due to coronavirus has thrown up huge challenges for how we have connected and continued as a church. The usual activities have changed. The usual ways of communicating have changed. The usual ways of meeting together and expressing our faith have changed.
And so we feel it is time for us to take stock. It is time for us to take a Sabbath together. A ‘summer Sabbath’.
But what does it really mean for us to take a Sabbath and why is it important? Over the next week or so Simon will help by taking us through four aspects of the Biblical picture of Sabbath and help us to focus our thoughts as we enter August.
Sabbath takes us back to creation
Right at the very beginning of history God worked for six days to bring into being a wonderful creation. The story is told in Genesis 1 and 2. The pinnacle of God’s creation was the crafting of mankind to whom He gave life and blessed with everything He had made. He also told man and woman to be fruitful and multiply and gave them the work of caring for His creation.
At the end of Day 6, after His commissioning of Adam and Eve, God ‘saw all that he had made, and it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31 (NIV)). That, in itself, is amazing. But what happened next should take your breath away. ‘By the seventh day had God finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work’ (Genesis 2:2 (NIV)). The One who is all-powerful, who with a single word called galaxies into being, observed His labour and rested.
A day of rest
But notice this: the first day of Adam and Eve’s existence was a day of rest. They were created to work but before they began their work they needed to rest. They were created to first of all know and fellowship with God in the holiness of the Sabbath before working on their God-ordained tasks. How often do we get this back to front and work hard in order to rest? How often do we claim that we deserve the weekend because we’ve worked so hard? That, I’m afraid, is backwards. Our rest, our Sabbath, is an example of God’s grace towards us. We rest because He blesses us with rest, not because we’ve earned it. We rest in order to do God’s work.
And what did Adam and Eve do on that first Sabbath? They fellowshipped with God. They walked in the garden with Him. They spent time with their Maker and with each other. What a model for us!
It means that when we stop and rest, when we set aside time to fellowship with God, we are rediscovering our roots! We are going back to the first day of humanity’s existence: a Sabbath of rest.
Pause for thought:
Read Genesis 1:1-2:3.
1. Why do you think our All-powerful, Creator of the Universe, God ‘rested from all His work’ on the seventh day? What are the implications for you?
2. What do you think about the idea of rest being evidence of God’s grace since Adam and Eve didn’t have to work for it? Does the idea of working from a place of rest (rather than working so you can rest) match up with how you think?
Part 2 will be published on Monday 3rd August