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Archive for October 24th, 2021

Sabbath Rest

MEDITATION:

Written by David Strain, a contemporary pastor and chairman of the board of Christian Witness to Israel.

For a few people today, an hour or two on Sunday mornings is occupied with public worship, but for most people, the idea that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath—an entire day set apart for worship, rest, and ministry—is entirely novel. And yet, in an age of frenetic and unrelenting busyness, when technology allows us to stay plugged in to the world twenty-four-seven, when entertainment becomes the de facto purpose of so many lives, nothing could be more countercultural, nor bear more eloquent testimony to a Christian’s citizenship in another world, than a well-spent Lord’s Day.

Growing up in Scotland, I had a residual cultural awareness that Sunday was the Sabbath Day. Even my secular parents spent the day with the TV switched off, quietly reading and resting. Years later, I came to faith through the faithful witness of a Pentecostal friend, and I saw the Lord’s Day as nothing more than a needless imposition upon my Christian freedom, more reflective of old covenant convictions than new covenant joys. When I went to college, however, that all changed. After worship every Sunday, church families would vie with one another to bring students and visitors into their homes for lunch. There we’d be invited to spend the afternoon enjoying a veritable banquet, returning to evening worship with them at day’s end. After lunch, the TV remained silent. Some dozed contentedly in an armchair. Others went for a walk. Some brought a Christian book to read. Often, lively discussion would spill over from the lunch table to fill the afternoon. Sometimes we’d gather around the piano and sing hymns together. Well before I could ever articulate a clear theology of the Lord’s Day, I contracted the happy contagion of joyful Sabbath observance. Were there nothing to support a well-spent Lord’s Day but the practical benefits of it, I would still commend this day of rest as an excellent mechanism for promoting our spiritual best.

PRAYER:

Written by Peter Greig, a contemporary writer and church planter. He cofounded the 24-7 prayer movement around the world.

May this day bring Sabbath rest to my heart and my home. May God’s image in me be restored, and my imagination in God be re-storied. May the gravity of material things be lightened, and the relativity of time slow down. May I know grace to embrace my own finite smallness in the arms of God’s infinite greatness. May God’s Word feed me and His Spirit lead me into the week and into the life to come. Amen.

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