Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Lord of Rest, take 2

I think much about how we, the church, are to be a "peculiar people," set apart to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (I Peter. 2:9).

What does this mean? What does it look like?

Historically, I think we (or maybe it's just me) have understood that in moralistic terms. . . .a Christian is one who doesn't smoke, drink or dance and doesn't go with girls who do (How does that crazy saying go?).

But this is too easy, too mechanistic. This is a pharisaic, legalistic approach.

True spirituality is more sublime, more nuanced. I think whollistically learning to enter God's rhythm of work and rest, not in a legalistic way, but in a thoughtful, intentional contemplative manner is one way we can be a "peculiar people" in our day. This is one way we can resist conformity to the world and its harried, hurried striving, but instead to transformed by God's Word in the Gospel.

Have we really found rest from the internal machine of self-justification through the cross of Jesus where He was made infinitely restless for us? If we have, shouldn't the Gospel be working itself out in the way we order our lives?

The Gospel establishes our true rest and draws us toward the practice of rest. But we need practice. Our tendency and temptation will be to legalize it and over-structure it and then impose our approach on everyone else around us. Let us resist.

Practicing sabbath rest, entering into God's rhythm, (learning to rely on God's grace, learning to respond to God's grace and learning to be restored by God's grace) seems to me to be a powerful and counter-cultural way to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us .

Don't you think?


Brian Wong said...

"Don't drink, don't smoke, don't chew. Don't go with girls who do." Close enough :-)

Helen V. said...

I came across an article on the sabbath by R.A. Finlayson that was quite good. Here is a quote,

"For six days He had put forth His might in creation, on this day He releases, as it were, into His own blessed fellowship the work of His hands and is pleased thus to lift man into His communion and the contemplation of His works.

While we know that sin marred God's work, and soiled the creature He had made in His image, we also know that God undertook another creative work, that of redemption, regeneration and restoration. And the completion of that work, too, is marked by a rest day in which man can once again enter into the rest of God, the Christian Sunday. That is appropriately now the Lord's Day, the Day on which the Redeeming Lord entered into His rest, and He has left it to us - significant and meaningful as the first rest day, but stripped of all the accretions that it had gathered throughout the centuries - to be the gateway into His own rest, the rest of His completed redemption. And we who believe do enter into this rest, and find the Lord's Day a means of grace and a divine instrument for our sanctification. This sanctification is a work of God in the souls of His people, and it is intimately associated with the rest, the worship, and the fellowship of the Lord's Day. It is there for the sanctification of human character."

What a wonderful God we serve!