“The Sabbath is about individual rest, the church has turned it into a day of corporate worship.” So says many I have come in contact with. Such an individualistic understanding of the Sabbath divorces the Sabbath Keeper from one of the greatest blessings of the Sabbath which is a celebration of community. In fact Leviticus 23:3 reminds us that a holy convocation or meeting was required of the community in the Hebrew Bible. It was to have elements that would be kept in community. In addition, the Sabbath was not just to benefit the Sabbath-Keeper. Exodus 20:10 reminds us that all who are in contact with the Sabbath keeper would benefit from the rest of the Sabbath Keeper by not doing work that would normally be done for the Sabbath Keeper. Even the animals were to be blessed by the Sabbath. We are told in Exodus 23:9-10 that even the land was to keep a “Sabbath-year” this would expand the blessing of the Sabbath to include even the creation itself. Thus the Sabbath is communal and affects not just the Sabbath-keeper, but also all those who are involved with the Sabbath keeper. If the church will be a Sabbath-keeping church it must be a benefit to all who are in community with it.
A Sabbath-keeping church must see itself as one that makes sure that its Sabbath keeping is not an individual endeavor. It is one that must affect others. It is one that even those who are not Sabbath keepers must be blessed by. It is one that all those who are in relationship with us are affected by. The Sabbath-keeping church must throw away any totally individualistic gospel that ignores the communal aspects of that gospel because the very idea of Sabbath is communal.
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