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2014 is the year of growing faith
2014 is the year of growing faith

Pursuing Sabbath equity

Sabbath is more than just time off; it’s a holy day that strengthens a relationship. But not everyone has the privilege of observing the Sabbath, writes Rev Peter Lockhart.

It can be argued that the first story of the Bible is centred not on the act of creation but on establishing the importance of the Sabbath. The seventh day bears no alignment to the movement of stars or seasons but sets up a rhythm of existence in which God is recognised as the Lord over time itself.

The invitation from God to humanity is to share in the seventh day; to rest in God’s presence. This rest is not a simple reposing in lethargic ambivalence or luxurious abandonment but in an awakening attentiveness to the nature of our being created in the image of God.

Rev Peter Lockhart

Rev Peter Lockhart

The temptation for those of us who live in the wealth of the Western world, or have the privilege of a five day working week, is to consider the Sabbath as a holiday we are entitled to, rather than a holy day that reminds us of our proper relationship with one another, God and creation.

Yet when we look honestly at the idea of the Sabbath rest, like many things, it is something restricted to those who are privileged enough to enter into this time of rest. For many who struggle hand to mouth, day by day, resting can only be viewed as luxury. Until all humanity can share in the Sabbath rest we are constantly reminded that there are issues of injustice that we must all face.

With this in mind, as people who live on the other side of the resurrection, we are invited to view the hope of this coming time of justice being realised now. Drawn into God’s life in Christ we worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, as a sign and hope that we have already encountered the re-creation of all things and that the promise of the eternal Sabbath is nigh.

So, as we come in, and are sent out, each week we are left with the troubling question: “How do we live as people of the new creation and enable others denied this privilege to share the promised eternal Sabbath rest now?”

Peter is minister with St Lucia Uniting Church and chair of the Board for Christian Formation. Find more grow faith resources by registering at abigyear.net

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