Tag Archives: Sabbath

What is the Sabbath?

Sabbath 2When I was growing up I was taught that Sunday was the Christian Sabbath. I really didn’t know exactly what that meant, nor did I know anyone who was not Christian. All I knew about the Sabbath is it was the day that we went to church. Over the years I have come to understand that Sabbath is so much more. A rabbi explained the Sabbath to a group of Christians touring the Holy Land in this way – “The Talmud,” he said, “gives us three reasons for keeping the Sabbath.”

“The first reason for Sabbath,” he went on, “is that given the fact that no one is permitted to do anything on Shabbat, no orders could be given, no work done. Therefore, the slaves and the rich would be equal for at least one day a week.”

“The second reason is that we have time to reflect on the meaning of our lives.”

“The third reason for Sabbath is that we can reflect on the goodness of our work as God did on creation on the seventh day.”

Sabbath means rest, but everyone rests, not just the holy people or the privileged ones. The Sabbath is the “great equalizer” that joins all of God’s creation together. Our world is divided is such a way that cries out for something, anything that brings us together. I would be comforted to know everyone is resting regardless of their station in life.

Do you know the meaning of your life? My meaning changes with each task or role that is sent my way. Sabbath rest is a time to focus on the central reason for your existence. Perhaps if we all took the time to reflect in such a way, we would suddenly find that God gives us great peace.

So many of us see ourselves and the world as being self-made. Sabbath says stop and acknowledge your own powerlessness in view of God’s creation. The world could be a so much better place if we would take the time to acknowledge it as God’s creation.Prayer group

The “Christian Sabbath” is just another myth made up by church leaders to make sure you are attending church services. Let’s take a step back from that and observe Sabbath as it was meant to be observed. Try to create for yourself a time when you stop and become one with all of God’s creation and praise Him for who he is to you. In such a time, you may want to attend worship.

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God’s Commands vs. Man’s Commands

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Once the order was given at Scetis, ‘Fast the week.’ Now it happened that some brothers came from Egypt to visit Abba Moses and he cooked something for them.  Seeing some smoke, the neighbors said to the ministers, ‘Look, Moses has broken the commandment and has cooked something in his cell.’ The ministers said, ‘When he comes, we will speak to him ourselves.’ When the Saturday came, since they knew Abba Moses’ remarkable way of life, the ministers said to him in front of everyone, ‘O Abba Moses, you did not keep the commandment of men, but it was so that you might keep the commandment of God.’

—–sayings of the desert

It is a difficult thing to discern sometimes whether we are acting out of religious piety or truly following the commands of God. Our community, like the community of Scetis, can confuse the two. Men have a way of making so many rules, and often these rules are just a pretense of following God. The practice of His presence is far greater than keeping the commands of a church, a class, or a community. God’s commands are made for the good of His creation. Jesus tells us, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.” The commands of God are not meant to burden, punish or diminish our value, but to allow us to know God’s love and mercy and share it with the world.

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Filed under Christian Living, Commitment, Dedication, Desert Fathers, Faithfulness, Fasting