August 21, 2016

This Sunday the Gospel text challenges us as modern followers of Christ to step into the text and embody the leader of the synagogue who has rules and regulations to uphold.  It’s easy for us to see ourselves as members of the crowd, or the healed woman but what about the synagogue leader?  Where in our own busy lives are we called to hold in tension rules and regulations versus Sabbath.  What is Sabbath for us as 21st century Christians and is it a time to not only refresh, rejuvenate and renew, and also reconnect with God?  Kindly ponder these questions and the poem and comments that follow, as you enter into this Sabbath.

“The Sabbath Hour” by K. Lyle Johnson[1]
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, what would Sunday be?
A day to think of other things, and in the world to be?
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, how fun each Sunday would be!
To the football field, the basketball court, the golf course I would be!
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, how much richer I would be!
I would work all day, and earn a lot, to finally be debt free!
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, how culturally refined I would be!
I would eat in the finest restaurants, to the movies and concerts flee!
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, how healthy I would be!
I would hike a mountain, hunt a deer, camp and fish with glee!
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, how empty I would be!
For in my own self-serving life, I would lose eternal keys.
If the Sabbath day were the Sabbath hour, how sad I would be!
For I would have to carry my sins, and the Savior never please.


Much counsel has been given on Sabbath day observance. How often do we as Christians forget that the Sabbath day is equal to 24 hours, not just an hour? The activities in which we engage on that day reflect where our hearts, thoughts, and desires lay.

The Sabbath offers an incredible opportunity to know the Savior and our Heavenly Father. Who would want to trade that opportunity for temporary earthly pleasure?

Truly it is a day of adoration that should be filled with joy and gratitude. It should be a day in which we come to feel the love of God as in no other day of the week. It is a day for counting blessings bestowed by His merciful hand.

Those who properly dedicate this day to God come to find hidden treasures that build testimony, teach eternal truths, and offer pure witnesses of the Christ and the Spirit. It is on this day that man can feel one with God, and the unblemished feelings of forgiveness and love.

On this day deity is acknowledged and an eternal relationship is built. It is upon this revelatory foundation that the mysteries of God are unveiled, and we come to know Him. On this day, we are gifted time to spend several moments with our dear Savior and Redeemer. It is on that day we confirm our eternal birthright, and a celestial inheritance through covenant, prayer, and service. It is a day to recommit to covenants, and then the Father reconfirms His promises by the power of the Holy Spirit. The sacrament is experienced and a rebirth occurs.
Who would want to trade that for any worldly activity? Yet on that day, it is often done. The reader must be reminded of when Esau traded his birthright for bread and a pottage of lentils.

“And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:33-34)

Would one trade their time with God or the Savior for amusement or entertainment? It seems so silly, but it happens every Sunday.
The beautiful experiences that can occur on this day are nothing short of miraculous. They confirm our status as sons and daughters, children of the Living God.

Engaging in worldly activities on the Sabbath moves us away from those sacred opportunities and experiences.

May we find a deeper joy by reserving that day for Him, and Him only.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

May we all put God first on that sacred day.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)