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The Sabbath (part 2)

My last ‘Beaver Tale’ stirred up an interesting gaggle of responses. It taught me something about communication. Writing produces vulnerability. Vulnerability produces innovation, creativity and change. I hope you don’t mind being the recipient of some of my musings?

In this work of going to remote, low profile and even dangerous places, I bump into many worn out, burned out and haggard ‘workers’. Being able to take time for quality resting is an elusive aspect of their lives. No-one has modelled or even suggested that ‘sabbath rests’ are integral to effective living.

My last ‘Beaver Tale’ touched a subject that is almost taboo. Exploring the parameters of Sundays and Sabbaths is like asking for opinions on tithing. Everyone has one!

When I suggested that Constantine did the Church a favour by legalizing the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day, many people thought I was a fan of Connie. Not so! J I just said he did a favour!

When I used the terms ‘Sabbath’ and ‘Sunday’ in the same sentence many people thought I was equating the two as being one and the same. Not so! J They are VERY different.

The Lord’s Day, is for group togetherness, celebrating, thanksgiving, Body life, teaching etc.

Sabbath is for rest.

And that ‘resting’ bit turns out to be the interesting part.

Starting in the Ten Commandments (in both versions) and throughout scripture we’re told to take a Sabbath Rest. BUT there is no prescription of how to do that, other than “Do not do regular work.” God created for six days and then He created rest and sanctified the seventh day for that rest. He did not rest because He was tired, but because He was setting a precedent for His creation that does get tired. We, who are made in His image, are creative (unlike the angels who are not) and should create for six days. Then we need to rest. My observations suggest that The Lord’s Day is not a day of rest but rather a full on day of creativity. And that is what it should be. The crunch is: how do we respond to His command to rest.

I suspect there are two reasons why I received so much feedback regarding this sensitive subject:

1 life is too busy to take a second day out of the week for ‘spiritual’ separateness (we react in guilt because we don’t)

2 there is lots of misunderstanding of what ‘rest’ is (our traditions are full of ‘do not’ rules, which in themselves negate resting)


Resting seems to be a hugely unknown factor in my society. And it is more so when the One who told us to take it didn’t define how to do it! It is seemingly wide open for interpretation. And Jesus didn’t make it any easier when He blatantly broke the religious rules. I’m intrigued that the religious leaders castigated Him for healing on the Sabbath but then went off and plotted murder!

How do I condense hours and hours of research of what Sabbath rest is, into a succinct summary of how to take Rest? Let me try:

1 Stop doing whatever you feel compelled to do.

2 Embrace doing whatever gives life.

Completely mindboggling, unbelievably rich, deeply challenging and utterly humbling are words that I would use, to begin to capture and define the practice of ‘rest’.

I’m dancing! J … john

PS: The smell in the ark was really bad, but the storm on the outside was even worse …


(original e-newsletter post –  March 2, 2013)


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