In an earlier post I asked the question, “What Bind does Adventism Get You Out of?” In it I asked the question, “What bind does our doctrines really get us out of?” I think thinking about this question can help the preacher to relate the truth of our doctrines to real questions that people ask.
I wanted to begin some discussion about the Sabbath. We really hardly ever preach about the Sabbath, but when we do, it is usually in an apologetic mode. By that I mean that we spend all of our energies defending the truth of the doctrine or attacking Sunday as not being the true Sabbath. While such preaching does have a role in the Adventist preacher’s toolbox, we also must spend some time thinking about what the Sabbath means and how it affects my living. So defend the Sabbath and show its preference to Sunday, but also look at the theological aspects of the Sabbath as revealed in the Bible.
So today I am going to do a brain dump on aspects of the Sabbath. This is not structured and should be seen as just a first step towards coming up with a homiletical theology for the Sabbath. I hope that you all will join in and help me in this endevor of attempting to discuss what we get from the Sabbath and why the Sabbath matters and what the Sabbath means for our living today.
First and foremost, the Sabbath matters because revelation reveals God cares about the Sabbath. We are told that God blessed, rested, and Sanctified the Sabbath (Gen 2:3). We are told that the Sabbath was made for humanity (Mark 2:27). We are told that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:8). The Sabbath is important and it matters because God said it matters.
Sabbath Reminds us to not think too highly about ourselves
Also the Sabbbath can teach us not to think too highly of ourselves. In taking a day off once a week we remind ourselves that if we stop working the world will continue. We are not indispensible or irreplaceable. This can take a great burden off of many minds. If we don’t complete this project, someone will, or perhaps it was not that important to begin with. But on another note
The Sabbath can teach us of our great importance. The Sabbath is a time to contemplate the creation which shows God’s care for humanity. God invested in humanity a dignity and greatness that caused God to call the creation very good. So while the Sabbath reminds us that God can get what God needs done without us, it also reminds us that God does place great importance in humanity. Humanity was the last “thing” that God created before God created rest.
Sabbath attacks overconsumption
The Sabbath can teach us not to be overly concerned about consumption. All week long we have to think about and work towards buying and acquiring. We work really hard just to get more and more things, but the Sabbath is a day we take off from that weekly grind of acquiring. We simply be. It gives us a chance to just think about what is really important.
Related to what I have written earlier, the Sabbath reminds us to take off and take a break. It reminds us that rest itself is a necessary part of work. God finished creation by creating rest.
The Sabbath is a day when we are reminded that people are not to be judged by what they do or how much they acquire, but just by being created of God. The Sabbath is a day that we all do the same thing. The wall street executive is simply a “rest-er” just like the checkout counter cashier. It reminds us of the equality we should have in the church and will have in the coming Kingdom when it is fully realized at the Second Advent.
Sabbath is a Participation in the Incoming Kingdom
Related to this the Sabbath is a day to participate in the incoming Kingdom of God. We live for God unencumbered by our usual work responsibilities. We move into a time where God especially meets us. It is a foretaste of the coming Kingdom.
The Sabbath is a time to contemplate creation. To look at the greatness of Creation. And as we contemplate creation we see the power of God that is for our good. If God can make all that we see out of nothing then God can take us and re-create good out of us. Just as completely God created in the beginning God can just as completely work in re-creation. The Sabbath is a celebration of that.
We are told that the Sabbath is a day to remember that we are being sanctified. God said that the Sabbaths are a sign of the sanctification that is coming to us individually and as a people.