Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sabbath Purpose (ch. 6)

I'm back. I know many of you have been waiting all summer for this. Some of you have even put your vacation plans on hold just to make sure you could be here for this. Thank you, ha!

It's been a fun summer for me. I've had a chance to sit down and really read and evaluate some good books and some not so good books. I hope to share some of those findings with you over the next few months. I'm starting, or picking back up, with a book I started reading last spring; Sabbath by Dan Allender.

Previous Chapters (summary and thoughts if you are interested)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Chapter 6 begins the second part of the book which is on Sabbath purpose. What is the purpose of the Sabbath? Allender sees the Sabbath as a day of peace and reconciliation. On the Sabbath we are to be reconciled to our brothers and sisters. If we are at war with them we stop. No fighting. Nothing. We pretend all is well even if it is not. We, “celebrate the newness of life, created, redeemed, restored, and set free.” Later Allender asks, “How would you live if there were no wars, enmity, battle lines, or need to defend, explain, interpret, or influence another to see anything differently?” This is how we try and live on the Sabbath. We don’t push our enemies to the back of our mind, but we pray for them. We wonder what it would be like to be at peace with them. Prayer for our enemies is encouraged. Doing this allows us to practice eternity when wars will cease and peace will reign. To help us get there Allender suggests we need curiosity, coziness, and care.

Curiosity is to be seen as a gift of the Spirit and a great aid to help us practice eternity. We imagine what life would be like if Jesus was here on Earth ruling. We imagine what it would be like to be at peace with oneself and one’s enemies. Be open to where your curiosity takes you on the Sabbath. Let it run wild.

Another purpose of Sabbath is to get “cozy”. This is more than just rest and relaxation. This is giving our mind over to curiosity and allowing our imaginations to run wild. When is the last time you did that? When is the last time you imagined what lies at the farthest end of the galaxy? What is the realm of angels and demons like? On the Sabbath allow your mind a chance to explore these things.

Another thing we need to help us practice eternity is care. We need to give and receive care on the Sabbath because there is a promise of peace. True care is really paying attention to your spouse or kids to see what their real needs are. We notice things about others and try our best to show them love.

I like the idea of thinking about what life would be like if God’s peace reigned. What would life be like if I was at peace with my worst enemy? To me this chapter revealed the important role imagination plays on the Sabbath. How good of an imagination do you have? Logic takes a back seat to imagination when we think of Jesus’ return and what life will be like when He renews the Earth and makes all things new. Try thinking about that logically and you don’t get very far. Some practical ideas sprouted in my mind as I read this chapter for celebrating the Sabbath to really practice eternity:
- Going to the library before the Sabbath arrives and getting books or magazines on subjects I wouldn’t normally stop and read about (e.g., space, dinosaurs, scuba diving, and woodworking) and perusing the pages with my kids. We would see new things and visit new worlds in the coziness of our home.
- For care, we could go as a family to a nursing home and spend the day with someone. We could eat together, sing together, and just enjoy each other’s company. A simple way to put caring for others into practice.

How about you, any ideas on how you would practice eternity on the Sabbath?

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