Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. – Exodus 20:8-11.
The rhythms of our lives have been turned upside down these past six months as each of us has adjusted our day-to-day activities, our home lives, and our work lives to stay home, stay safe, and reimagine worship and faith formation remotely.
Some congregations continue to live-stream their services in real-time on Sunday mornings. Some have returned to in-person activity. Others pre-record their services on Wednesday afternoons. Still others collect the various parts and pieces of their worship services throughout the week, hoping it all comes together in time to post before Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
Similarly, Lenten and Holy Week activities, Confirmation experiences, VBS, summer mission trips, and now – Rally/Return Day festivities have been up-ended. The signposts we rely on to mark the rhythm of the church year have been knocked off kilter.
Still, as always, God’s people are not left alone in this wilderness time. God gifts us with Sabbath.
God established a rhythm for living in the first days of creation. A rhythm of work and rest. A rhythm of creativity, productivity, and labor accompanied by a day of resting. This rhythm has stood the test of time, giving God’s people respite, refreshment, and balance.
Observing Sabbath allows us a touchstone in our week; space to pause, to pray, to breathe. It offers us a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day, guiding us though these days of chaos and wilderness wandering.
A number of the world’s societies have incorporated a day of rest into their labor practices. The six-day work week is an established rhythm, codified in labor laws and in less formal social practices. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam each observe a day set aside for worship, prayer, and rest. Religious observances for these three faiths generally take place on the non-work day in the six-day work week.
In the late 1800’s, trade unions and labor movements in the United States organized to set aside a single day each year to “celebrate” labor. Their celebrations included a proposed public holiday “for the laboring classes” to be filled with parades, picnics, and speeches. Both Canada and the United States mark an annual Labour/Labor Day on the first Monday in September.
For many, Labor Day marks the “unofficial end of summer.” This three-day weekend stands as a turning point from the “carefree” days of summer to a return to school, fall sports, and a more regular rhythm. For many, this day provides a touchstone in the year as it signals a coming seasonal change, a shortening of daylight, and cooler temperatures (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).
This Labor Day weekend, we can embrace a pair of touchstones to restore our equilibrium, even as we anticipate more unsettling the days ahead. God gives us Sabbath – a day for respite, refreshment, and balance. Labor Day Sabbath comes as a three-day weekend – a time to pause and turn into the new rhythm of our days.
May you mark a day of Sabbath for yourself. May you steep in God’s love, care, and provision with a day of rest and respite. May you let go of your “doing” – for one day.
Practice Sabbath. Sleep in. Spend time with loved ones. Laugh. Pray. Enjoy God’s magnificent creation. Your work will be there when you return.
Nice combination of the text and the holiday, Beth. Thanks.
the sabbath was changed by the antichrist. SUNDAY
DAN. 7:25 And he shall ..think to change times and laws:
Question – Which is the Sabbath day? Answer – Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Question – Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer – We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 364), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50, 3rd ed.
“Sunday is our mark of authority…The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.”
Letter from C.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons on October 28, 1895 —
The following from the Catholic Encyclopaedia Vol. 4, p. 153 also confirms the deletion of the second Commandment and the change of the fourth. “The church, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath of the seventh day of the week to the first made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day.”
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [Saturday Sabbath to Sunday] was her act… And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things” (H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons).
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. It could not have been otherwise, as none in those days would have dreamed of doing anything, in matters spiritual, ecclesiastical and religious without her. This act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.”Father Enright C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, Mo., History of the Sabbath, p. 802. —-“It’s the MARK of our authority to over-rule God’s law.”
“It was the Catholic church which…has transferred this rest to Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Therefore the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) church.” — Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, p. 213.
“The Bible says, Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. The Catholic church says, No! By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day, and command you to keep the first day of the week.
“Protestants do not realize that by observing Sunday, they accept the authority of the spokesperson of the Church, the Pope” (Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950).
“Prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the Catholic Church alone. The Catholic Church says, by my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week. And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the Holy Catholic Church” (Thomas Enright, CSSR, President, Redemptorist College [Roman Catholic], Kansas City, MO, Feb. 18, 1884).
Is Saturday the 7th day according to the Bible and the 10 Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week, and did the Church change the 7th day Saturday for Sunday, the 1st day? I answer yes.
Did Christ change the day? I answer no!
Faithfully yours, J. Card. Gibbons.” (James Cardinal Gibbons autograph letter).
Cardinal Gibbons, in Faith of Our Fathers, 92nd ed., p. 89, freely admits, “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we [the Catholic Church] never sanctify.” Again, “The Catholic Church, … by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday” (The Catholic Mirror, official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893).