Saturday, December 15, 2007

Anticipating Sabbath Rest

[Note: I use the term "Sabbath" as referring to my day of rest on Sunday, but realize that this is not the universal use of the word even within Christianity. I don't mean to state an opinion as to whether other Christians should call Sunday "Sabbath".]

A movie very dear to me is the 1971 classic, "Fiddler on the Roof." I was fascinated when I first saw it (in entirety, as an adult) by Tevye's earnest expressions as the Friday sun begins to set. "The Sabbath is coming!"

I am not unusual in the PCA for having certain Sabbatarian beliefs. I try to keep my Sabbath observation fairly low-key, and primarily see my obligation as refraining from money-making non-essential labor (note: my subjective belief).

Some Reformed Protestants maintain that observing the Sabbath is no longer a binding moral law, as they believe that our "Sabbath-rest" has come in Christ, thus satisfying the 4th (aka 3rd) Commandment. But even if my observance is for the sake of a mere prudential rule, it offers much reward.

One small thing I have learned from this rest is that I am much more mindful to take care of work due on Monday in advance of Sunday. Beyond fending off procrastination, there is a more enduring lesson to be gained. Today, I have work to do, for the harvest is plenteous (cf. Mat 9:37). Tomorrow, I may be dead, or Christ may have returned; I may soon enter my Sabbath-rest. So I best prepare today, I best tend to what needs tending. My weekly rest helps me to remain mindful of my coming eternal rest, and the work I need to do in preparation of it. As Tevye knew, "the Sabbath is coming!"

3 comments:

Joseph said...

Thos,

You might enjoy this encyclical

Joseph said...

Sorry, Apostolic Letter.

Thos said...

Joseph,

Thank you for thinking to share that Apostolic Letter. I just read through it for maybe 20 minutes, and see that it has much to offer. I will try to find time to read through the whole thing.

I have not known much about Catholic views of the Lord's Day, though I know enough of the history of our (Christianity's) moving it to Sunday to be familiar with the tone of this letter.

It seems Catholics still try to take Sunday as a rest from their worldly labors (and you are encouraged to tend to works of mercy on this day). And in that case, you would be in a position to observe what I have observed (and noted in my post) -- that we have to complete our labors in the days given for work in order to be prepared for that day of rest. There's something deeply eschatological to me in that notion (but maybe it's just my imagination).

Anyway, thanks again for sharing!

Peace in Christ, and blessed Lord's Day!,
Thos.