Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Sabbath?

Why don’t Christians keep the Sabbath? This question comes up intermittently and some pointers to an answer were provided by Rev. James Robinson yesterday. Remember that the first Christians were Jews who met early on the first day of the week to worship. Why?

First, they would attend the synagogue or meet in the temple courts to worship on the Sabbath (Saturday). This meant to complete their faith as Christian Jews they would meet the following day to celebrate—the day our Saviour rose from the dead.

Remember too, that Jesus was crucified on Friday, and it was fitting he should rest through the Sabbath in a sleep of death, before rising to life early on the first day of the week. After all, the first day of the week commenced the original creation process.

So, Christ rose in re-creation on the first day of the week, which heralded not only new life for us, but also the promise of His return; some Christians suggest it is an eighth day. It was natural for the early Christians to celebrate their faith on the first day, Sunday.

Thus, the Sabbath was left intact for those first Jewish Christians. But it leaves a question: though we Christians continue to worship on the Sunday, how do we respect the Sabbath? While this is no longer a legal requirement, can we honour God’s original charge?

Perhaps it is no coincidence that for most in the western world, the work week leaves Saturday a holiday. Most Christians may not attend a Shabbat service, but we can make it the day of rest as it was originally proclaimed.

Or have we over time simply transferred the Sabbath to Sunday, so that becomes our “day of rest”? If we rest on Saturday, we may worship on Sunday, but not necessarily make it a day of rest. In fact, for many Christians—especially pastors—it’s the busiest day of the week!

Any other thoughts?