I just finished Marva Dawn's book, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly.
Beyond the book's wildly prophetic nature (Marva's observations about culture in 1987 are eerily spot-on for 2021), two recurring themes will stay with me.
How we view the sabbath and how the sabbath shapes the rest of the week.
Sabbath — the climax of the week
Marva uses this language repeatedly to convince us that a weekly sabbath is the best day of the week.
As such, we quite literally should look forward to our sabbath celebration and remember it.
Anticipating and remembering joyful experiences is good for the soul. It lifts us above the tyranny of a falling-apart world.
This joy-oriented mindset around a climactic day — to enjoy God's presence and delight in His good gifts — changes us.
As Abraham Heschel beautifully put it:
The Sabbath comes like a caress, wiping away fear, sorrow and somber memories. It is already night when joy begins, when a beautifying surplus of soul visits our mortal bones and lingers on (Source).
The Best Day Shapes our Weeks
As Marva repeats throughout Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, consistent sabbath delight begins to inform the rest of your week.
Intentional practices like:
Enjoying God's presence
Tasting the food we eat
Playing with children or friends
Worshipping Jesus with others
Putting off worry, work, accomplishments, etc., will find their way into our Monday through Saturday.
This principle is profound:
One day of intentional habit-making multiplies into a healthy lifestyle.
An excellent way to plan your sabbath rest is to ask, What kind of a person do I long to become? Then incorporate practices into your sabbath rest that help you move in that direction.
A Weekly Reminder
A 24-hour period of ceasing work to embrace rest experientially reminds us to look forward to the Super-Sabbath that's coming.
Jesus will return, and our earthly mission will close in heavenly rest — forever enjoying God's presence and delighting in His good gifts.
Be encouraged by the old hymn Jesus I My Cross Have Taken as you labor and rest until Christ's return:
“Haste thee on from grace to glory Armed by faith, and winged by prayer Heavens eternal days before thee Gods own hand shall guide us there Soon shall close thy earthly mission Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days Hope shall change to glad fruition Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.”
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