Saturday, February 7, 2009

Margin


Official documents in Western Washington went from legal size to regular size a few years ago. Since lawmakers have nothing in the world to do but make laws, they made it a law that these smaller sheet sizes had to have strict margins. One inch on the left. One inch on the right. One and a half inch on the top. One and a half inch on the bottom. If you sign, or scribble, or type anywhere in the margin, the document will be rejected and you have to do the papers over again. So you have to have a nice wide margin with no writing on it.

Today God talks about margin. And He sounds as strict as our local lawmakers. Listen, "Tell the Israelites, 'Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy. Keep the Sabbath; it's holy to you. Whoever profanes it will most certainly be put to death. Whoever works on it will be excommunicated from the people. There are six days for work but the seventh day is Sabbath, pure rest, holy to God. Anyone who works on the Sabbath will most certainly be put to death. The Israelites will keep the Sabbath, observe Sabbath-keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. It's a fixed sign between me and the Israelites. Yes, because in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day he stopped and took a long, deep breath.'" (Exodus 31:12-17)

I know the Sabbath is a little complicated. Do we celebrate Saturday or Sunday? Is it a strict rule or is there freedom? Jesus said "The Sabbath was made for man, not man made for the Sabbath."

However, I see two basic principle laid down here.

First: We can't run flat out all the time. God built us to need some margins around the edges. Some white space. Some free time. There is a day every week set aside that is to be different. A day of rest.

Second: Relationships take time. Our relationship with God needs time. The Sabbath is "holy to God." Going to church is part of it. But our traditions can easily cover over the real meaning. The Sabbath is a time to become closer to God.

2 comments:

Heidi said...

And yet church is so busy! Not too restful huh?

Roy Peters said...

Interesting Phil. It is sad that in England, fewer people go to church on Sundays with each passing generation, and the concept of Sunday being a day of rest has changed too.
As a member of The Church of England, I find congregations falling all the time because the Church itself has failed to move with the times. This is sad.
Naturally, in today's world it would be impossible for everyone to down tools and celebrate the Sabbath, but more importantly, people today view a Sunday as just a day off. The idea of this being a special day, to be one with God, has I'm afraid disappeared into the past for most people.
In my opinion. this is partly to blame on the Conservative Government of the 1980's, under Margaret Thatcher, that removed religeous education from the National Carriculum for state schools.
Keep the faith.
Roy