It's Monday

And Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man,  not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”  Mark 2.27-28
As we enter the third month of this global pandemic, you may wonder what day it is.  Are the days bleeding together?  As I wrote this blog, I knew it was Monday because the Waste Management trucks were on the streets in our neighborhood.  Otherwise, it’s just another day
Part of the problem for me is that my daily, weekly, and even monthly routines has been thrown out the window.  I was hoping to develop a “new routine”.  That’s not happening.  Each day is different.  Each week is different.

We were created for routine – or, perhaps more accurately, rhythms.  Even better, as Ruth Haley Barton calls them:  Sacred Rhythms.  We were created to live in a world where the sun rises every morning, and sets again at night; only to rise again the next day.  We were created to live in a world that experiences the ongoing seasons of  Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.  (At least in parts of the world.)  We also have times of routine throughout the year: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and even church.

Routines or rhythms give us a sense of being centered.  Many routines can be life-giving.  Routines bring us back to what is important.  They help puts things in perspective.  Routines give us expectations of something that is coming: In the deep of winter there is always Christmas.  Some routines may not be life giving, but they are necessary: Going to the dentist.  Other routines are developed that may not be beneficial in the long run: Eating ice cream every night; having your favorite alcoholic beverage.

During this time of sheltering at home you may have developed some routines that never existed before (for good or bad).  Some routines you may be neglecting during this time (Getting enough sleep, spending time in prayer.)  Some routines you’ve had to forsake (going to the gym, visiting your favorite restaurant on Friday night).
It was not intended to be another law to follow.  
I believe the Sabbath is to be a way to help us develop a routine, or a sacred rhythm in which we continually make room and time to be in the presence of God.
There is one routine that God has given His people that will always stay the same: Honoring the Sabbath and keeping it Holy.  The Sabbath was originally Saturday.  To “keep it holy” meant to set it apart from the rest of the week, particularly to set apart a day for worship and rest from work.  Most people consider Sunday to be the Sabbath, a time to go to church.  But, it’s more than a day to go to church.  That in itself can become a mere routine, or habit, and provide nothing beneficial.  To “honor the Sabbath” can become legalistic.  That’s why Jesus said what He did: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  It was not intended to be another law to follow.  I believe the Sabbath is to be a way to help us develop a routine, or a sacred rhythm in which we continually make room and time to be in the presence of God.

I do believe that going to church is to be “honored”.  Not as a duty, but as a gift that God has given to us as a gift.  God doesn’t need us to go to church every week.  But, He knows that we need to be in His Holy Temple regularly in order to develop a routine, or sacred rhythm of embracing what Jesus said were the greatest of the commands:  Love God and Love Others.  The Sabbath, going to church, helps develop a sacred rhythm of loving God and others that is carried over into the rest of the week.  The Sabbath, the Church, is God’s gift to us.
During these days, the weekly gathering of God’s people in His House is a routine that we all miss, and perhaps are realizing how much we took it for granted.  However, the Church, as we know, continues to exist, even if for now it’s in our front rooms, gathered around our computers with friends and family.  

Whether it’s Saturday, Sunday, Monday or even Wednesday, make it a routine to proclaim to God and the world: “This is the Day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it.”
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