“The Sabbath was made for people,” said Jesus.


I’m not sure I know what that means…yet.

As a child, I knew of Sunday.  Church day, a day where my dad didn’t mow the lawn, even if it was getting long and unruly.  Then, two hours of napping, followed by popcorn and apples with peanut butter for dinner.  Yum!  But then, before the last dregs of the peanut butter taste had left my mouth, it came.

Dread.  Dark, bleak dread.

The sudden knowledge that time marched on, whether I wanted it to or not.  Monday was waiting around the corner.  School day. Shivers.

But Sabbath?

When I became a pastor, people assumed that I would know what it was.  Christians believe in magic just like the next Joe, you know.  But for me, the dread just moved up about twenty-four hours.  On Saturday night, the bleakness would set in.  Anticipation.  Was I ready?  Could I ever be really ready?  All the faces of the congregation would stare at me in my dreams, mystified, accusing me, saying;

How dare you speak of such matters beyond your years!

Nightmares of the responsibility, I guess.  Sunday morning a question would arise again and again, “Should I drive north to Tarshish or south to church?”

This dread has been shifting, though.  Is it possible for Sabbath to sneak up on a person?  Can God use dread, the quest for approval that dominates all else, and turn it into rest?

Rest seems to use the same techniques as dread, but with a disquieting gentleness, like the first breeze that smells of spring in March.  Stealthy, but faintly whispering hope.


2 thoughts on “Sabbath

  1. “Should I drive north to Tarshish or south to church?”

    Man, couldn’t have said it any better myself.

    All I know is that Jesus claims to give us Sabbath, but sometimes it doesn’t feel very Sabbathy.

  2. Alan,

    I really really struggle with the Sabbath, because God seems to really, really care about its proper observance. While Jesus was definitely addressing a legalistic observance of Sabbath on the Pharisees’ part, he definitely wasn’t saying the Sabbath was unimportant. So what do we do with that? I struggle and struggle within myself.


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