Readers: Beau and Stephanie Harbour: Why we like this post: It is so easy to treat the Sabbath as a “nice to have,” but not something that could possibly be applied to our modern lives. But, no! This devotional is an important reminder that the Sabbath is as much of God’s law as the other nine commandments. And, that we receive the gift of the Sabbath – if we would only take it – because of the ultimate rest we find in Christ.
843 Reader’s Choice: The Mask of the Sabbath
Originally posted April 19, 2013
Reader’s Choice Highlighted Text: Leviticus 23:3
Sabbath: “The Sabbath,” writes Judith Shulevitz in the New York Times Magazine, “has become the holiday Americans are most likely never to take.” After detailing the history of the observance of the Sabbath, she laments, “So what do we do, today, with this remarkable heritage, which in the last century expanded to a generous two days, rather than just one? Much more than our ancestors could ever have imagined, and much, much less. We relax on a run and, in rare bursts of free time, we recreate. We choose from a dizzying array of leisure options and pursue them with an exemplary degree of professionalism and perfectionism … And yet there are important ways in which even our impressive recreational creativity fails to reproduce the benefits of the Sabbath. Few elective activities will ever rise to a higher status than work in our minds, and therefore cannot be relied upon to counterbalance our neurotic drive to achieve” . What is the alternative?
Law: The Law commanded, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places” . Observation of the Sabbath was taken seriously. In fact, under the Law, those who profaned it were to be put to death and those who worked on it were to be cut off from among the community .
Imagine: Imagine what a Sabbath in your city might look like. It would be, as Shulevitz puts it, a day of “organized nonproductivity”. It would not merely be a day of refraining from work, however, but also a day of shifting our thoughts. Can you picture your city resting from its busyness and selling into reflection? What would that do for your city? How might things change? Shulevitz wants to “bring back the Sabbath”, and who better to answer her call to action than us, the church?
Prayer: Lord, As we celebrate the Sabbath this weekend, let its seriousness and importance dwell in our souls. Show us how to observe it in a way that honors and glorifies you. Give us courage to rest from our work, knowing that you are the ultimate author of all that is accomplished. For you are the Lord in all our dwelling places, and we trust in you. Amen.
About the Harbours: Stephanie and Beau have lived in New York for 8 years, and moved to the Upper West Side to be a part of the Redeemer community. They have a one-year-old son, Luke, who loves to run around Central Park and charm the baristas at Joe Coffee.
 Judith Shulevitz. “Bring Back the Sabbath.” The New York Times Magazine. March 2, 2003. |  Leviticus 23:3 ESV |  See Exodus 31:14; Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36. I highlight the severity of the punishment for breaking the Sabbath to show its seriousness, not advocate its reinstitution.