How I Know Sabbath Worked [part 1]
What a ridiculous title for this post, yes?
Well, kind of. The idea of putting “Sabbath” and “worked” in the same sentence feels a bit oxymoronic (I might have just made that word up). While, at the same time, Jesus himself said…
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man (that’s Jesus btw) is lord even of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27-28
Besides the subtle implication of Jesus being lord over all that has been created, He seems to indicate Sabbath is an other-than-man-made feature intended to work for us, rather than we working for it. This Sabbath thing is a gift from God that achieves something in and for us. It’s not a paycheck we have achieved on account of our tightened bootstrap work ethic.
Now I have said plenty about the ideas of Vacation and Sabbath and Holiday in the past. What I want to do here is imagine how we may know taking a Sabbath rest or “holiday” has actually achieved something in and for us. Briefly, how can I know Sabbath worked?
I’ve done some reading on the topic of Sabbath. Abraham Heschel wrote a book simply titled, “The Sabbath.” It’s an easy read if you’re interested in picking it up yourself. (My review of it is here…scroll down to February 2012.) He does something marvelous in his book. He frames the whole topic of Sabbath in a discussion on time and space. He suggests that much of our day to day lives are consumed by gaining control over space at the expense of time, ultimately placing us in servitude of them both. And don’t you think maybe he’s right? Don’t we spend a bit too much time obsessing a bit too much about the things of our day?
Finish that project, attend that meeting, make that grade, impress that person, clean that room, make that meal, get through that traffic, watch that show, win that game, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And while we’re trying to wrangle in the varying categories of space we run about in, all the while we make time into a sort of sarcastic laughter that taunts us in each passing moment – hurry up, get it right, missed a spot, wrong channel, tardy.
You’ll remember of course in Genesis, when God was creating everything, how he separated light from dark, sky from water, and water from land (Gen. 1:4, 6-7, 9-10)? And then, do you recall, before he created life and breath, how He splattering lights throughout the heavens to “separate the day from the night” and to mark off for us days and seasons and years, as well as to help us see where we’re going (Gen. 1:14-18)? Have you ever caught the fact that God was reaching out of eternity to make time and space? Along with the vastness of creation itself, God was carving out space for creation to be and setting up time within which creation will spin. He made time and space for us!
Got a daily planner nearby? Maybe its online; just a click or two away from knowing where you need to be next? Maybe it’s in your pocket on your phone or in your hand right now? Look at it. See that grid of categories and timeframes and places to go and things to get done; the columns and rows of time and space originally designed to serve us? Well, when did we begin serving it? When did we become subservient to something created over and against the Creator himself?
Yikes! I bet you never imagined a calendar could be an idol, huh? Well, it’s sneaky, but it can. And it has for me more often than I care to admit. I suspect it has for you too.