Lenten Devotional – Feb 23, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023
The Sabbath by Abraham Heschel
Lenten Devotional by Pastor Travis

Heschel writes “The Sabbath is a bride, and its celebration is like a wedding.” In part two of his book, Heschel describes the Sabbath as a person you love and prepare to meet and celebrate. He talks about the Sabbath as our mate. He writes “just as the groom does no work on his wedding day, so does a man abstain from work on the Sabbath day; and therefore, the Sages and ancient Saints called the Sabbath a bride.” 

I find this a fascinating way to think about that weekly time of rest and renewal with God. Ignoring the Sabbath is like a man ignoring his wife on their wedding night. Can you imagine? When you think of the Sabbath in these terms then you imagine attending to the Sabbath, spending time with the Sabbath and enjoying that time like a date with someone you love. 

Or if thinking of this time as a spouse is too much for you, imagine the Sabbath as a good friend coming to visit. What do you do to prepare for that friend? When the friend arrives, you give all your attention to that time together. Have you ever visited someone, and they failed to carve out time to be with you, but went about their day as if you hadn’t made a special trip to be with them? 

I really like Heschel’s analogy. Rather than a time to obey, it’s something to look forward to, something to enjoy. Imagine the Sabbath as that day on the calendar you circle and star because you are so excited for it to come. That’s the energy that Heschel is hoping we will find in our anticipation of weekly time of rest and renewal with God.

O God you wait for me like a man waiting for his wife. Help me to run toward the Sabbath with that same kind of joy and anticipation and trust that our time together will be full of joy and leave me refreshed and renewed. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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