Signposts: Daily Devotions

Sunday, January 4

So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
—Genesis 2:3

Sabbath. A blessed day, because God rested from all the work God had done. What on earth have we done to the Sabbath day? We have opened almost all of our stores and restaurants. What surprises us now is when a commercial establishment actually chooses to observe the Sabbath. When I was told that there is one fast-food chicken establishment that closes it doors every Sunday, I found it hard to believe.

One of the most difficult disciplines we can do as children of God is to STOP, BREATHE, and REST on Sundays. Just try NOT to buy a thing on Sunday. We, the consumers, treat Sundays like any other shopping day, which means other people must spend the Sabbath working to fulfill our needs. This is a complicated issue, one we should approach without judgment on anyone but ourselves.

Probably the most constructive way to honor the Sabbath is to try to reclaim God's model—to rest and reflect.  Here is what Frederick Buechner says about the Sabbath in his book Wishful Thinking:

You think of God resting after the creation was finally all created.  You think of the deep hush of it, like the hush between breakers at the beach. You think of the new creation itself resting—the grey squirrel ceasing to twitch and chatter, the kingfisher settling down on the branch by the pond, the man and the woman standing still in the garden.  You think of God blessing this one day of the seven and hallowing it, making it holy.

You feel at peace in your mind. For no particular reason, you let the palms of your hands come together and close your eyes.  Sometimes it is only when you happen to taste a crumb of it that you dimly realize what it is that you're so hungry for you can hardly bear it.

May God grant us the wisdom and the discipline to honor the Sabbath, and thereby to honor our creator.

Gracious God, help us to honor You, your creation, and each other, beginning with ourselves. Give us the grace to observe the Sabbath, to keep it holy. Give us the wisdom to understand how precious this day is, and how far we have strayed from its purpose. Amen.