Community, Justice, and the Sabbath

Pastor Ryan Bell makes the following interesting observation:

I am also concerned that the meaning of Sabbath will be limited to merely an internal, personal, and private experience of God’s “Shalom” and will fail to translate that into public and outward expressions of God’s reign of Peace.

The Sabbath certainly is at the foundation of our own theological enterprise as Adventists, but it is also one that we often do not explore as we should. As Bell notes in the comments section of the post, most of the time when we are discussing the Sabbath we are talking about the day. We are putting the Sabbath up against Sunday. We are defending the 7th day against all other days.

When it comes to actually keeping it, we often end up with a hodgepodge of Biblical and Cultural mandates. On top of it all the Sabbath’s main purpose seems to be, according to most of us, a day that we get to take off from work. That is an important feature as I have noted in previous posts on the Sabbath, but it sidesteps a couple of important compontents.

First the Sabbath is a communal celebration. We don’t keep it by ourselves. We keep it in a community.

Second the Sabbath eschatological looking forward to the coming kingdom. We participate and even live in that coming Kingdom more fully on the Sabbath.

My taking off from work barely scratches the surface. It is time for Seventh-day Sabbatarians to begin looking more deeply at the Sabbath so that we may teach “The Sabbath More Fully” and not be happy with taking a day off from work and going to church on the right day.

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