Where Is Your Heart On Your Sabbath

I grew up a little confused about the Sabbath. My parents took me to a Methodist church in our local town. The big church in town was Lutheran (most people in the town of 1,000 were of Germanic heritage). So, we went to church on Sunday. My mother’s mother’s family was Welsh and attended a Seventh-Day Baptist church. In fact, two of mom’s brothers were Seventh-Day Baptist clergy. They, of course, worshiped on the Sabbath–the seventh day just as it says in Exodus. That would be Saturday.

Last week part of my reading took me through a few chapters of Exodus where God is giving Moses instructions about how to organize his people. Part of those instructions dealt with working six days and setting aside one day for rest. I think later it became a worship day.

The idea of Sabbath and rest occurs in curious ways. There is rest for the land. There is a Sabbath year where debts are forgiven. And Jesus talks a little about the Sabbath.

Men began to think (way too much) about what it meant to keep the Sabbath and not work on that day. They began to draw up lists of rules that specifically detailed what was work and what wasn’t. Even today in Israel if you ride an elevator in a hotel on the Sabbath, don’t get on the Sabbath elevator. It is programmed to stop at every floor so that observant Jews don’t have to work by pushing a button.

Many of God’s original laws seemed to have as much practical sense as they did religious. Keeping a day set apart certainly also keeps the followers set apart from other peoples. But taking a rest periodically is as good for the body as it is for the soul.

Referring back to Monday’s post on meditation, that is something akin to a daily Sabbath–part of a day set aside to rest. You need part of a week set aside for rest. You also need part of a year set aside for rest.

When Jesus teaches on the Sabbath as recorded by Luke, he expands on rest but short-circuits the multitude of picky laws defining work. Jesus was most concerned with where your heart is. Keeping the Sabbath with your heart in the wrong place is not really keeping the Sabbath. I think that Moses agreed.

Sabbath is not only about rest, it’s also about adjusting your heart back to where it belongs.

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