Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work—Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day. - Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Do you take a day of rest? Do you take a day off to get away from work? Do you take a day to ‘decompress’ as some say?
The third commandment tells us we should do just that. (My church tradition calls it the ‘Third
Commandment’. Other Church traditions call it the ‘Fourth Commandment’.)
The word ‘Sabbath’ is from a group of Hebrew words which mean Saturday, Seven or Rest. In the Bible we see the word first used in Genesis 2. Genesis 1 teaches God created the earth in six days. Genesis 2 teaches that on the seventh day, which is Saturday, God rested.
So, throughout its history, God’s people have honored the Sabbath by resting. On this day, the Hebrew people would rest and worship. It was a way to remember God and what God had done for his people.
When the Christian Church came along, the day of worship for Christians became Sunday because it is the day of the week Jesus rose from the dead.
By the time Jesus came along the Sabbath was more a burden than a rest. In one account, Jesus’ disciples picked some grain to feed themselves. The religious leaders verbally attacked Jesus for allowing his disciples to search for their food on the Sabbath.
In other accounts, Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Again, he was challenged for performing miracles on the Sabbath. Can you imagine being ill all your life and suddenly Jesus heals you on the wrong day?
The Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest but the religious leaders of Jesus’ day turned it into a burden.
It seems to me the Christian Church is supposed to be a place where burdens are lifted.
Too often the Christian church places more burdens on people.
It should be a place where we encourage each other. It should be a place where we love each other. When a person stumbles or ‘sins’, instead of pointing out the fault, forgiveness is shared.
Honestly, the church should be a place of Sabbath rest.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California