Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hebrew Bible: On the seventh day...

On the seventh day God rested. I have thought a lot about Sabbath, but I haven't really looked closely at the seventh day when God rested. I jotted down notes to myself in class, because I know that I am not doing a good enough job of honoring my sabbath day (which happens to be on the same day as my class so it might change...)

The week of Creation builts up to this day, and Dr Hopkins talked about how God is rushing toward rest. She pointed out that this isn't the rest of exhuastion (emotional or physical). I usually have Monday off, which is good because I'm often exhausted. Plus, there were many Mondays last spring where I was so discouraged about low attendence that I needed a day to recover. For the first couple weeks I was back at work, I was really worried that things wouldn't go well. Fortunately, things have been going great with youth programs so far... we've had great attendence, and kids seem to be plugged in. Sunday was our first "regular" youth group meeting, and it went so well. Monday I went into the office and took care of attendence, and added new contact to my list, and looked at this coming Sunday's lessons. Tuesday I took my sabbath and I was really able to enjoy the rest of satisfaction.

On the seventh day, God doesn't speak. This passage is short and doesn't repeat the same things that run throughout the other days. There is not, "and there was evening, and there was morning," or "it was good." In my notes from class on Monday, I wrote "Megan, shut up on your sabbath." I usually get caught up in e-mail or a phone call or whatever on my day off. I worry that I need to be available, that I need to keep working. If God can take a break and be aloof and silent, why do I think I can't? The Bible says that "God rested from all the work God had done in creation." Did God need to rest? Or was it just a good idea? Either way, I would assume that if the creator rests, then people who are creative need to rest.


Blogger B said...

So I was curious as to why you (and other people, I presume, to some extent) interpret the Sabbath day to be variable, if that passage says "God rested on the seventh day." I'm assuming you take the Sabbath as more of a concept that sort of generally dictates rest'n'relaxation, as opposed to an established day or period of time. But then why do some (or most?) Christians consider Sunday to be an established "Sabbath day"?

For me, the Sabbath is like a fixed holiday, so celebrating it at another time would be like celebrating Christmas on a day of your choice instead of on Dec. 25. I've been mad busy with work lately, but I still have to schedule it around the Sabbath, rather than wait until I get some free time and then have a Sabbath. It creates a nice rhythm (for me) because I know no matter what's happening around me, there's one day a week when I'm just not going to deal with it. There's a popular Jewish bumper sticker that says, "Hang in there - Shabbos is coming!" (Shabbos means Sabbath.) So I think a lot of people kind of see it as an oasis of time that "saves" you from the rest of the week -- similar to the concept of a weekend, but more deeply restful and "separated."

Anyway, I just thought I'd chime in since you said you wanted Jewish input (careful what you wish for! ;D). I do think it's really interesting how people interpret similar theological concepts (not to mention words -- ack!) very differently.

God works in mysterious ways, so I guess he rests in mysterious ways, too. :) Bwuhahaha.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Megan Methodist said...

Well, interestingly enough, I believe the early church observed the Jewish Sabbath, as well as the "Lord's Day" on Sunday. Friday was the day that Jesus died, and Sunday was the day he rose, which is why Catholics fast/don't eat meat on Friday. About the time that Jews got really unpopular with the Romans, the Christians pretty much changed everything they could to make themselves unJewy.

Christians generally do consider sabbath a concept, which a lot of people write about. I guess part of the idea is that Sabbath should be spiritual rest and renewal, which doesn't always happen on the Sabbath. For pastors and people in ministry, we are involved in work of creation on Sunday, and despite my manditory Sunday afternoon nap that I usually get, there isn't really a chance for re-creation.

Ideally, one should schedule their week around a regular Sabbath. As you said, it's about having a rhythm that involves weekly "apartness." The way things are today, I think a lot of people struggle to squeeze in weekly time, but that seems to be the case for most spiritual disciplines.

Thanks for your input :-)

1:38 AM  

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