Thought for the week with Rev. Edward Lyons - Sabbath was never about switching off

Do you rest enough? Would you like more than rest, not just more rest but more than rest?

Often Christians need to remind themselves of the value of the Sabbath. Yet maybe first we need to know what it is before we understand why it is valuable.

The day of our nation observing a Sabbath has all but died out completely. Many people work all days of the week and all times of the day and some work up to seven days in row before they see a day off.

This is one of the apparent liberations from religious heritage. The freedom to be worked seven days in a row if not more. The freedom to know you have no freedom to oppose this timetable and since atheists do not really have regular church meetings to go to what else would you be doing on a Sunday anyway?

This is the land that promotes social justice yet also allows this new timetable to strike many in our nation. The Sabbath in the Old Testament was on a Saturday. Many people then ponder why Christians go to church on a Sunday. If the Bible teaches the Lord rested on the Saturday in Genesis 2 then should that not be the day we say to our bosses, “I can’t work then, I’m at Church.”

Well if we were living 2000 years ago we would say that. Yet Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday and the Christians referred to that day as the Lord’s Day. From the opening weeks of the Christian Church God’s people gathered on a Sunday for worship, we find this in the New Testament letters. Yes, they rested from their labours. But they did more than rest. The Sabbath was never about switching off to the world for a day. Or even having a day when you do nothing.

Rather it was and still is about switching on to God. Focusing on him in worship and in learning and in giving.

Far from doing nothing, a Christian is actually doing the thing which is the most vital, and I would argue natural, activity in the whole week. It is rest but it is more than rest. It is resting and giving and being recharged in and through God.

People who spend a Sabbath day like this spend six more in a far better place. It is almost as though it is how it was meant to be. Almost like God knows what he is doing with our body clock, but as always the question is, do we?