The traditional Jewish understanding of Sabbath is closely related to the concept of an island in time. How do you envision this word picture?
An Island in Time
Does your mind gravitate to a solid mass surrounded by a liquid flow?
Do you see a wisp of smoke passing from a piece of coal?
Is it beautiful, dark, peaceful, chaotic?
In his book The Sabbath ,Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, puts it this way, (restructured from its original prose):
The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate
time rather than space.
Six days a week we live
under the tyranny of things of space;
on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to
holiness in time.
It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is
eternal in time,
to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation,
from the world of creation to the creation of the world.
The mystery of creation. We know what God did on day seven, but what did Adam on do on day one?
I like to envision the seventh day of creation as a day in which the Creator invited the created to go for a walk in the garden, to talk, to commune, to just be together. I imagine them listening to the chirp of the birds of the air and delighting in the splendor of the lilies of the field. I can hear the Father laughing as he explains why he made an artichoke so hard to eat and can see his smile as he looks upon the work of his glory and once again calls it good. I like the idea of a walk in the garden with my God.
How do you see it?
The Sabbath, day seven for God and day one for Adam, appears to be a comma in the prose of life, slowing us down, getting in our way, ruining our day. Truly it must be more than this. It is an exclamation point in the poem of creation! The Sabbath is a clear and unfettered announcement that God, in all of his passion and majesty brought forth something out of nothing, elegantly carving a piece of ice out of a stream of water. It is a proclamation of completion demanding that we comprehend that not only did he make the world without our input but he also sustains the world without our help.
How do I respond? I don’t like the idea of Sabbath; it reveals to me that life and time goes on without me, that I’m not needed to hold my little man-made world together. It reveals to me that I am not God. How do I respond? I love the freedom that the Sabbath brings. It reveals God to me, and I am not him.
How then will you respond?
Will you revel in a walk with your Creator, delighting in His words?
Will you live in the freedom of Christ’s work being done, that there is nothing more for you to do?
Will you trust your God with your life, your trials, your fears, your hopes, your dreams?
Has God spoken loudly enough to penetrate the noise of the world with the truth of His love?
Are you willing to stop working for just one day?
Will you embrace that there is one God and he is not you?