Lenten Reflections Week 7: Rest and Sabbath

Scripture: Genesis 2:1-3

Reflection: Often we look at humankind as the final and most important work of creation. After all, when God finished creating humankind, God looked at the whole world and called it “very good.” However, the scriptural account of creation does not end there. In his book “Living the Sabbath”, Norman Wirzba argues that the final act of creation was truly the creation of the Sabbath, the “rest, tranquility, serenity and peace of God” that all of creation is invited into. Passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy echo this idea by reminding God’s people to “keep the Sabbath holy,” to refrain from work and to give their animals and land respite each week and every seven years. 

The Old Testament emphasizes the importance of Sabbath as a rhythm of life. It is included in the ten commandments, and honoring it sets God’s people up as examples to the nations. But Jesus helps us truly understand God’s intention for the Sabbath. When the disciples are chided for picking grain to eat Jesus tells the Pharisees, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Jesus reminds them that the Sabbath is not about a prescriptive act. It is not meant as a limitation, but a gift. It is a reminder to cease our busyness and to pause and contemplate God’s world in its vast array of beauty. Honoring Sabbath reminds us to set aside time to experience God’s life giving peace and to extend it to all of creation. 

Suggested action: As we head to Easter and the resurrection of life it represents, take some time to think about which of the suggested actions brought the most life into your week and prayerfully consider adding it to your daily or monthly routines. And because part of this exercise is about connection, to God, to creation and to others – consider inviting friends or family into the exercise with you. 

Suggested resources:  “To the Ends of the Earth” (Vimeo) and “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and “An Inconvenient Truth” (both on Prime) and the books “Don’t Even Think About It” by George Marshall and “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas.

All film suggestions form from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: Artist and title unknown

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