Remember Walter Brueggemann’s classification scheme for the Psalms: orientation, disorientation, and new orientation? I feel like you could apply the same scheme to my blog here. You’ve got your (i.e. my) posts of orientation, posts of disorientation…and sometimes a move from one mode to another. Take yesterday, where I took a step back, looked at myself and Ephesians 1:3-14 here, and moved from disorientation to new orientation. I’ve got a feeling I might manage a post of disorientation before we close out the week, but man, sometimes I get so tired of trying to whip up some thoughts for the blog. Sometimes I just wanna rest.
Remember Hebrews 4 from our Sabbath study? We looked at Heaven as the supreme Sabbath, or to put it in the author of Hebrews’ terms, God’s goal of rest for his people. I suggested that the rest that the author discusses has not fully arrived, but as I read the passage today, I’m prepared to reverse that conclusion, or at least to amend it: there’s a sense in which we can, and should, enter God’s Sabbath rest for all creation right here and now. See, there is more to this passage than we originally surmised. On Chocolate Book, we are not content to remain in our former ignorance; we learn as we go.
Today’s Chocolate: Lily’s 55% Cocoa Almond Dark Chocolate Today’s Passage: Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and related passages Welcome, everyone, to the conclusion of our survey of the Sabbath in the Bible. Before we tie a bow on this one, I wanted to step back and take a look at everywhere we’ve been, ask, “What’s the takeaway from here?” […]
Some mentions of the Sabbath in the Bible won’t tell you much of anything about how to keep the Sabbath because they’re too literal. Remember all those times the Sabbath comes up in Acts that we skipped over because it’s just “on the Sabbath this thing happened?” Well, the fourth chapter of Hebrews is almost on the opposite side of the spectrum: you’ll barely find any guidelines or pointers on keeping the Sabbath because the chapter’s so metaphorical. …Or will you?
Reading what Paul had to say about the Sabbath in his letter to the Colossians, I couldn’t help but think of a verse from one of his other letters: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). The Sabbath isn’t meant to be a yoke or a burden; it’s meant to provide freedom and rest. And if you intend to keep it, it defeats the purpose to load it up with so many restrictions that keeping the Sabbath itself becomes work!
We need to tie up a loose end from yesterday before we get into today’s passage. Yesterday, while driving to my evening job right after finishing up the day’s post, it hit me: what if Jesus has been arguing from his opponents’ perspective in these problematic passages from John, in order to point out the flaws in their reasoning? What if he’s in essence saying, “If you think my healings qualify as ‘work,’ you’d better be prepared to admit a whole host of other lesser things into the can’t-do-it-on-Sabbath club–including the stuff you do for your animals and sons, and even the stuff the Law requires you to do?”
What is work, anyway? The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ time think they’ve got a handle on what work is and isn’t. Carrying a pallet? Work. Fishing your ox or son out of the well he’s fallen into? Not work. Miraculous healings? Definitely work. But the fourth commandment simply says, “You shall not do any work on the Sabbath…”