Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes,”The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things… on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time… to turn from the results … to the mystery of creation.”
So important is the Sabbath… that the ancient rabbis concluded that God was not simply resting on the Sabbath, but rather creating His final masterpiece. God “finished His work” (Gen 2:2) by creating menuha– rest – which elsewhere in scripture is translated as happiness, stillness, peace, harmony, even eternal life. Clueing in to this … reveals the very way we were made, and invites us to participate in the time and rhythms of creation.
Unlike us, God is not in a hurry. God is not only in charge of time, but gives it to us as a gift, and its rhythms bring God glory. So, like this God in whose image we are created, we are called to pull ourselves out of circulation regularly to cease. To rest.
We do this in short-form every night when we go to sleep. We stop, and while we are resting, God is at work. God is holding things together, and when we wake in the morning to join in the rhythm of a new day, we get in step with the work God has already been doing and continues to do.
Have you ever thought of REST as God’s final masterpiece or a holy activity? To read more of this amazing article by Brad Griffin and see a list of resources that led to these thoughts, click on The Four-Letter Word of Youth Workers at the Fuller Youth Institute site.