Discipline · Theology

Learn to Love the Sabbath

Some people (read: even Christians) look puzzled when I talk about how badly I’m dying for Sunday to arrive. I want to go to church more than I want to do just about anything else, (usually).

I wasn’t raised in church and so this behavior certainly doesn’t come from tradition. It doesn’t come from obligation. It doesn’t come from anywhere else but desire and doctrine. Yes, desire and doctrine. I desire the Sabbath day to come because of my Sabbath doctrine, that is, because of what I believe about the importance of Sunday. Well, not Sunday, but what we do on Sunday (and I’m fine with doing it any day).

Rather than give a detailed explanation of what the Sabbath ought to be for the Christian (such as a time to remember our dependence on God, exercise our gifts, do the “one-another’s”, read, teach, learn, pray, sing, serve, and obviously get free coffee), I would like to share a few excerpts from a class, including quotes from a couple books. Maybe you’ll find in these quotes, as I did, language to express the feelings you too have.

A Cultural Protest

The Sabbath is… “A symbol of our heavenly citizenship, a sign of our true and only hope. It challenges all the idols of our age. The idol of work, of leisure, of consumption.”

“In a world where work is integral to worth, where the majority of our neighbors see Sunday morning as a time to go to the lake or mow the grass, just getting up and getting dressed and going to church becomes a sort of non-violent protest. It’s a way of saying, ‘we want a different world than the one you serve'”. – Where Resident Aliens Live

“In the way we practice the Sabbath, what we are telling the world is that heaven can’t wait. We need weekly, this foretaste, that sustains our hope in a dry and weary land, because we are weary pilgrims.”

A Longing

“We want a better world than the Babylon of our exile.”

“The Sabbath is like how Moses, who on the mountain was allowed to see the promised land, but he could not enter. That’s what we do on the Sabbath. We see with the eyes of faith the rest that is our inheritance. We need this hope, because the world is out to destroy this hope. The world is choking us with it’s obsessions, it’s preoccupations, tempting us with the god’s of work and consumerism. The lord’s day is a discipline that trains us to resist the world and reminds us that we are destined to a better world. Better than the exile in which we presently live and toil.”

“What the church does at worship is to escape the crash and jazz and noise and rattle and smoke of this weary age, and it ushers into that blessed foretaste of still waters and green pastures. This is a foreshadow of that infinite sweetness of our communion with the living God”  – John Gresham Machen

“What else would I want to do? What else am I more eager to do than to gather with God’s people and meet our creator and redeemer in public worship? Why would I want anything less than the infinite sweetness of communion with our living God?”

“That’s a better Sabbath keeping. Feast on heavenly manna, even as we await the glory of the Sabbath that is yet to be revealed.”

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