Sunday, September 09, 2007

Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning

Zane over at Big White Hat wrote, “On the 7th”, a reminder that the Sabbath is reserved for a day of rest. In many ways his observations are on the mark, “America does not know how to take the day off. When we are off work, we work at home. The grass has to be cut. The house has to be cleaned. The errands have to be run. No day of rest. We don’t even know how.”

One of the first comments left to his article hit the nail on the head, “Having that day off gives us a needed perspective on things. Most importantly it allows us to maintain our connection with God.”

I was immediately reminded of a hymn, linked via the title bar, a gentle reminder that the Sabbath is reserved and dedicated as a day of rest. We are instructed in the ways of the Lord and given an opportunity to show our gratitude for all the many blessings, not forgetting the many trials and challenges which mold our character and test our determination to adhere to the commandments.

We had a lesson on this not too long ago and it was interesting to hear the many varied thoughts, interpretations of how to properly observe our day of rest. After a while I got the impression that I was listening to modern day equivalent of the Pharisees, quoting the Bible dictionary, “the tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules, and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride.”

I heard one explanation that naps were permitted on Sunday; but that these should not extend beyond one hour, as if some rule of law might be invoked for those terrible sinners with a soft bed. There were issues brought up about whether or not it was okay to go on a picnic and enjoy nature’s abundance, watch sporting events, go out to dinner at a restaurant and the list went on and on until, if observed as offered, about the only things permitted were going to church meetings, singing hymns, reading the scriptures or writing in your journal.

I figured it would be better to have an authoritative response as to what the Sabbath is meant for rather than rely on all the invented limitations that were popping out of the woodwork; I once again referred to the Bible dictionary. Here is the meat of the information; there being many scriptural references given, this should suffice.

“The importance of a sacred day for man to rest from his temporal labors, contemplate the world of the Lord, and assemble for public worship is a major item in person’s spiritual development. Furthermore, decay in the national religious life always follows any tendency toward carelessness in the matter of Sabbath observance. The existence of a weekly holy day is a most important safeguard; it leaves a constant reminder to the individual of his need for spiritual sustenance and his duty before God, and serves as a witness to the world that there is such a thing as revealed religion.”

I tend to go along with the idea that the Sabbath was made for man rather than looking upon the Sabbath as a strict and unyielding task master over man. I think the Lord would be pleased with my efforts to be grateful for a chance to rest from my regular labors, to take a nap, enjoy a special dinner with my family around the table in my house as we share our love for each other; and even enjoy an Astros game on the television, regardless of their chances to return for a post season run.

“And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”
Mark 2: 27

Don’t get me wrong, I find great enjoyment when going to my Sunday meetings, reading the scriptures and writing in my journal (blogging). I hope that the meaning of the Sabbath will overtake our natural lives and cause us to place a proper emphasis on our relationship with God, to acknowledge His hand in our lives and to live in such a way as to one day return to His presence.

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