Sick of Religion? Week 5: Devotional Day 6
DAY 6 – Saturday
Ezekiel 20:19-20; Exodus 20:8-11
How do you keep the Sabbath? Do you keep a Sabbath? Make a list of your traditions and motivations (current and past). Has anything changed over your life about what the Sabbath means for you?
When I was in college, I had a friend who would regularly keep the Sabbath. She would take a day of the week and refrain from doing her homework. My other friends and I would marvel at how she was able to do this in the midst of busy college years. As I came to seminary, I discovered a repeated emphasis on keeping the Sabbath. Without Sabbath, people visibly burned out faster and had a harder time seeing the joy in their work.
Despite the good readily apparent in keeping a Sabbath, the instruction to maintain a Sabbath needs to be repeated again and again. I think this relates to two sermons at Chapel Hill this year. Pastor Megan shared in her online sermon after the snowstorm that “most of my sin is culturally acceptable in the U.S.” With a culture that celebrates busyness and being in control, ignoring Sabbath is perfectly acceptable in our culture. We need Christians who help us see that it is not acceptable long-term to be working all day everyday instead of taking time to find delight in God (Ex. 20:8-11).
Back in mid-January, Pastor Ellis raised the question “Who are you?” in reference to our need to let God be God instead of trying to be our own saviors. Keeping Sabbath is one way that we acknowledge God is God and we are not (Ezek. 20:19-20). As life begins to feel overwhelming though, it is easy to panic and try to become our own saviors. When I have a major assignment due next week at school, it is tempting to just keep working and not take a Sabbath. This, however, leads to a skewed identity over time. It is not our own work by which we are ultimately defined. We are defined as those created and redeemed by God. Sabbath is a time to celebrate that identity and praise God for who he is. Don’t be like the Pharisees and be quick to approach Sabbath with a view of legalism. Let it instead be a celebration.