Sunday, September 29, 2013


In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. (NIV)

In those days I saw Christians of Bend, Oregon, doing their chores and work on the Sabbath and generally keeping it busy with lots to do; full of tasks and to-do lists and sometimes their recreations also became distractions.  They were doing all this even in the holy places on the Sabbath.  Therefore I warned them about their to-do lists and productivity on that day.  People who believed in no God at all lived in Bend and engaged with all sorts of to-do's and distractions, on the Sabbath and with the Christians of Bend.

The first paragraph is from the Scriptures.  The second paragraph is pretending to be parallel, but the analogy only goes a short distance.  If it's useful to you, that's great; if you noticed that it's not 100% theologically sound, you're right.  Just dismiss it--you don't have to set me straight unless that's really how you want to spend your time.  I'd rather have a conversation about Sabbath-taking than about my attempt to apply Scripture to modern-day.

Here's what got me thinking about Sabbath rest:

In Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell writes "Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.

Sabbath is a day when my work is done, even if it isn't.
Sabbath is a day when my job is to enjoy.  Period.
Sabbath is a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.
Sabbath is a day when I remember that when God made the world, he saw that it was good.
Sabbath is a day when I produce nothing.
Sabbath is a day when I remind myself that I am not a machine.
Sabbath is a day when at the end of the day I say 'I didn't do anything today,' and I don't add 'and I feel so guilty.'
Sabbath is a day when my phone is turned off, I don't check my email, and you can't [reach] me."

Some of those are meaningful for me.  Some of those not so much.  I find that I am deeply impacted by the thought of being prohibited from accomplishments, productivity, and to-do lists on one day a week.

How do you Sabbath?  If you don't Sabbath at all, are you aware that Scripture talks about God really caring--that it's really important to him--that his people Sabbath?

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