Saturday, May 09, 2009


Macon, over on his Unrelated blog, raises the question of the Sabbath.

I have been thinking about what we are to do with Sabbath for most of my grown up life. (I posted on it once before.) I think the day is to be set apart and honored in some way that makes us more like the person that God intended us to be before creation, "back there" when he first thought us up and pictured how we would be, absent a Fall or, now, fully redeemed and restored. Jesus said that the day is made for "man," and, like an American, I would first read that to mean that is is made for "me." But it must also have a huge corporate component, as the commandment itself indicates when it warns us that the people and animals over whom we have control are also to enjoy its special rest.

When I grew up a Southern Baptist, we observed the Sabbath carefully: no movies, no beach going, no games, being quiet, taking a nap. On the other hand, being a Baptist growing up meant a Sunday that got to be very, very busy with church activities, and the inconsistency of that approach struck me as a teenager. Sunday got to be exhausting with the "early [worship] service" that began at 8:30AM, where the Youth Choir sang. This required us us to get to church even earlier so that the choir could assemble, dress in the robes, and do a quick run-over of the anthem.

Following that was Sunday School, which went to about 10:30. Then our family returned home for lunch and a nap. Then back to church for ensemble practice at 3:30PM or even earlier, Youth Choir practice proper at 4:00PM, then a light supper in the church dining room, then "Training Union," followed by the evening service at 7:30PM. After the worship service, which ended about 8:30, we youth went to some one's house for "Afterglow." That meant I got home about 10PM on a school night. Some Sabbath!

That experience has made me jealous of the Sabbath, especially when it comes to church activities. Often our church leadership calls for meetings before or after church, because everyone is there, or later in the afternoon, because the leadership figures that people would not have commitments on that time. And, after all, this is for God, right? Wrong. I just don't go to those things. I will go to worship service, and a Sunday school class, but I really don't want to be involved in church activities otherwise. The Sabbath was not made for Church.

But that begs Macon's question of what should be done with Sabbath. All the delicious time! What's the Plan??!! What would David Allen do? Or should we care? What do you think?


Macon said...

I think I'm going to remove commenting all together over on It's a place for random thoughts, not conversation per-se.

but Sabbath.

If Sabbath was made for man,
what is man?

If man is made after God's image,
and God is the Triune God of Grace - onto-relational,
then man or Person-ness, like the Person of God, is a person-in-relationship

then I bet Sabbath has something to do with a day for returning to the true persons that we are. persons-in-relationship to other humans, and persons-in-relationship to the Triune God of Grace.

I also think that some relationships are more central than others. outward from the center:
Extended family
Near neighbors
Far neighbors

(note I do not list "self". as I posit at, I don't think we can ever say "self". Maybe "self in relation to God" or "self in relation to other.")

Sabbath, given as a place to rest, I think would push us up towards the top of the list in choosing activities for that day.

So we go to Worship and Learn, we stay home/near family, we don't get "distant" in mind by using technology.

(He writes, as he puts off going upstairs to help Kells with the bath time. Yikes!)

Paul Stokes said...

I note that when Jesus "broke" the Sabbath, he sometimes did so by healing others. In a way, Sabbath is a time of healing, it's that sort of rest. On Sabbath, He restores our soul. We need to make room in our week for that to happen. This is the prime relationship, as you note.