We live in a restless world. The evidence is all around us. We hurry from one project and activity to another. We may wake up at six or seven in the morning only to be thinking about what we have to do at work or what we have to do to get the kids ready for school. Once work or school is over then it is off to soccer practice or piano lessons, stopping at McDonald’s for a quick
In his article, “God’s Rest In A Restless World,” Dr. Charles Arand attempts to diagnose the problem. He suggests that our focus is too inward. We focus too much on ourselves, our activities, and our worries. He then points us to God’s gift of Sabbath.
The Sabbath, as the Bible speaks of it, directs us to look past ourselves to the works of our God. In this way, we truly receive rest that inspires and refreshes us. Then, we as creatures, receive the rest that our Creator has intended for us from the beginning of creation (Arand 4).
In Genesis 2 we learn about God resting on the seventh day after he called his creation “very good.” Yet, we read nothing about God’s creatures resting on the seventh day. We find that in the Third Commandment in Exodus 20:8: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
Two reasons are given in the Scriptures for the Third Commandment. First, in Exodus 20:11 it says, “For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” It was important for the Creator and so it is important for his creatures. Second, Deuteronomy 5 places the Third Commandment in God’s work of redeeming creation: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Dt. 5:15).
As Arand observes, “So the Sabbath is connected to the two great works of God: creation and the renewal of His creation. The one looked back to Eden, and the other looked forward to a new Eden, namely, the land of Canaan. Together they comprise God’s epic story. Israel was to stop working, rest, and celebrate both of God’s achievements. In the process, Israel would be refreshed, renewed, confident of god’s provision” (Arand, 6).
God’s works of creation and redemption in the Old Testament look forward to God’s final renewal of creation accomplished in Christ. Through God’s work in Christ he gives us, his re-created and redeemed people, rest.
In our Sunday Morning Divine Services, God gives us rest in the work of Christ. Rest from our Sins. Renewal in the Spirit of God so that we are empowered and enabled to truly live as God’s people in a restless world. No other rest that we manufacture from our own hands will work. Only receiving and resting in the work of God’s hands, our Creator and redeemer truly works.
So we continue to rest in God’s work in Christ as he offers it in Word, Sacrament, Song, and Prayer in our Divine Services on Sunday Mornings. We come and rest with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
I also encourage you to come and rest with God’s people and in God’s work in Christ during Wednesday evenings this Advent season. What a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas this year! Our midweek Advent Worship Services take place at 7pm on Wednesdays, December 3, 10, 17. Each Service is proceeded by a Potluck supper at 6pm. So come, bring a dish to pass, join together in community and conversation. Come as God’s child and rest in his Word and work for you.