Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the First Week of Lent: Year 1
“So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4: 9 and 10)
Today is Thursday, but the gift of God’s Sabbath begins tomorrow evening. This has not changed, and even our Lord Jesus observed it. Worshiping on Sunday is fine and appropriate for Christians, but I don’t feel we are excused from resting from Friday evening to Saturday evening. Rest is not worship, it is rest.
Sometimes I think the human need to micro-manage one another required us to meet together in order to ensure no one was “working.’ However, the worship team, (clergy and laity) are technically working. No, I feel we need to have time to ourselves, un-monitored, unsupervised, self regulated, and trusted to truly rest and ponder about God.
I am still working on this shift in my spiritual life. I’m getting there. I must remember that our Lord Jesus said on many occasions that it is okay to do the necessary things even on the Sabbath: things like comforting the sick, putting out fires, standing guard against bad people and so forth. We go against the idea of Sabbath rest when we spend time with household chores, organizing get-togethers, and running errands; even participating in public worship. None of these are God’s idea of Rest. “For those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his.”
The Sabbath should be a time of meditation and perhaps small informal gatherings of family or very close spiritual friends for prayer, light food and drink, and the sharing of blessings. It is not a time of detailed preparation. It is a time of contemplative reflection, a time to do nothing. Every Sabbath is a gift of time from God. Let us not refuse, or reject such a loving present. I will again attach a You Tube video that I think will help Christians understand the meaning of the Sabbath. (What is Shabbat? Intro to the Jewish Sabbath – YouTube. This sharing is in no way an attempt to undermine our Christian traditions. But I don’t believe we are excused from obeying God’s instruction to observe the Sabbath Day, the seventh day, which is still understood to be Saturday.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John