Lenten Devotional – March 26, 2023

Sunday, March 26, 2023
Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time
by Dorothy C. Bass 
Devotions by Pastor Travis Norton

Bass’ fourth chapter is titled “The Sabbath opens creation for its future.” She takes us back to the origins of the Sabbath and the call to spend time with God and honor the freedom God has given us.  

“By resting, God declares as fully as possible just how very good creation is. The work of creating is finished, and God has no regrets, no need to go on to design a still better world or a  creature more wonderful than man and woman. In the day of rest, the Christian theologian Karl Barth suggested, God’s love toward human beings takes form as time shared with them. Indeed, it is on this day of no work that God “Finished” the work of creating the world by wrapping the world in blessed and sacred time. “The Sabbath,” writes the theologian Jurgen Motlmann, opens creation for its true future.” 

Again, Bass recognizes that our society makes it hard to honor the Sabbath. There is more work to do than ever before and no one is really able to keep up. Sabbath is meant for our freedom from this kind of endless work. She writes, “Slaves cannot skip a day of work, but free people can. Not all free people choose to do so, however; some of us remain glued to our computers and washing machines every day of the week. To keep sabbath is to exercise one’s freedom, to declare oneself to be neither a tool to be employed—an employee-nor a beast to be burdened. To keep sabbath is also to remember one’s freedom and to recall the One from who that freedom came, the One from who it still comes.” 

Bass won’t give up on encouraging sabbath observance, but she does acknowledge the pressures against it are large and societal. So we need to rediscover sabbath together. The fix must be communal as well, even as we resist individually to show the world that there is another way to inhabit God’s time. 

Prayer: Teach me, Lord how to observe the Sabbath in the reality of my busy life. Give me creativity and wisdom to pursue the gifts you have for me in this time with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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