On Sabbath

 

I recently read ‘The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath’ by Mark Buchanan. I underlined so many passages in my Kindle, then copied out some of the most thought-provoking in my journal and now I’m typing a few up again here on the blog. Third times a charm, or something – certainly I need to remember these words over and over again as I seek some more Sabbath in my  week.

So here they are – all words by Mark Buchanan:

“In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that you need to be still.”

“Sabbath imparts the rest of God – actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God – the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.”

“The root idea of Sabbath is simple as rain falling, basic as breathing. It’s that all living things – and many unliving things too – thrive only by an ample measure of stillness.”

“Sabbath-keeping requires two orientatons. One is Godward. The other is timeward. To keep Sabbath well – as both a day and an attitude – we have to think clearly about God and freshly about time. We likely, at some level, need to change our minds about both. Unless we trust God’s sovereignty, we won’t dare risk Sabbath. And unless we receive time as abundance and gift, not ration and burden, we’ll never develop a capacity to savour Sabbath.”

“Exodus grounds Sabbath in creation. Deuteronomy grounds it in liberation. Exodus remembers Eden, Deuteronomy Egypt. In Exodus, Sabbath-keeping is about imitating divine example and receiving divine blessing. In Deuteronomy, it is about taking hold of divine deliverance and observing divine command.

Exodus looks up. Deuteronomy looks back. Exodus gives theological rationale for rest, and Deuteronomy historical justification for it. One evokes God’s character, the other his redemption. One calls us to holy mimicry – be like God; the other to holy defiance – never be slaves again. One reminds us that we are God’s children, the work of his hands, the other that we are no one’s chattel; not Pharaoh’s, not Nebuchadnezzar’s, not Xerxes’, not Beelzebub’s.

One is invitation. The other is warning.”

“Slaves don’t rest. Slaves can’t rest. Slaves, by definition, have no freedom to rest. Rest, it turns out, is a condition of liberty.”

“Get this straight: The rest of God – the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover that part of God we’re missing – is not reward for finishing. It’s not a bonus for work well done. It’s sheer gift. It’s a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfilment of our obligations. It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could.”

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