Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sabbath in beauty, sensuality, and feasting

A lot going on in life right now. It seems I've had a real taste of what it means to be a pastor these last few weeks. A wedding, several funerals and hospital runs have kept me moving. I now return to a book I'm slowly working my way through. Here are the previous posts from the previous chapters if you need to catch up.

Previous Posts
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3

Chapter 4 looks at Sabbath as a day to enjoy communion with God, others, and creation. It’s a day where we live out Psalm 34:8. Dan wants the Sabbath to push us towards nature and the examining of God’s creation in such a way as to take our breath away. To really understand this Dan explores a theology of beauty, sensuality, and feasting.

Beauty – True beauty, according to Dan, reflects the unity and diversity of the Trinity. Three distinct persons, but one God. Something different, but something uniting in each. There is an ultimate form of beauty that helps us understand what true beauty is; Jesus Christ. The incarnation is a beautiful thing! Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension are to be marveled at. To really appreciate the beauty of God becoming man, along with God’s creation, we must approach with awe. Awe as a sense that this is something very special. This is a gift I’ve been given. All this wonder and awe over something so beautiful should lead us to desire God more. Sabbath is a good place to seek beauty, which in turn could/should lead us to seeking God.

Sensuality – Dan contends the Sabbath should be the most sensual day of the week. What does he mean? All our senses should be aroused. The Sabbath should be a celebration of smell, touch, hearing, seeing, and tasting. We might be a little suspicious about such talk. After all if it feels good it’s gotta be sin, right? We can’t trust our bodies because they are sinful. If we suppress our senses by not letting them enjoy Sabbath, and consider them unspiritual, and pay no attention to them, we end up neglecting our whole self. If we do that we lose something of our true selves and what it means to be human. Didn’t Jesus tell us to love God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength (our physical bodies where our senses are)? The Spirit living in us is there to redeem our physical bodies too (which includes our senses), so why not open them up to the best and give them a Sabbath to enjoy?

Feasting – Our meal times during the Sabbath can remind us of the great wedding feast coming when Christ returns. We will sit at a table with Him and our fellow brothers and sisters and share a meal together. Our times around the table on the Sabbath can foreshadow this if we let them. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to sit around and talk about Jesus’ return or communion, but that we sit around and enjoy each other’s company. We talk. We tell stories. We listen. We laugh. We cry. We take great joy in just being gathered together. This is feasting on the Sabbath.

Reflection
This book has me excited about finding ways to really enjoy and celebrate a Sabbath day. I have all kinds of ideas churning in my head. The hardest part is implementing them. It always is when you try and put anything in scripture into practice. This is why Sabbath is considered one of the spiritual disciplines. It takes work to make it work.

- Anything special your family does for your Sabbath day?
- Any special meals you eat?

3 comments:

tagskie said...

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Nelsman said...

I am glad for the warm weather coming back because one of my (current) favorite sabbaths is to come home from church and have lunch on the back patio - surrounded by the beauty of the woods. Dan's thoughts were a reminder that the best times are spent with others - when the lunch gets drawn out for a while.
Thanks for passing on his thoughts. It's easy to focus too much on all that needs to get done on Sundays and this shows that there is so much more that is better for us than only seeing the "jobs to do at the church"

Tim Sheets said...

Thanks for sharing the thoughts Nelson. That patio sounds like an awesome place to celebrate God's creation! I'm glad you have something like that to help you relax.