In my mind I hear a few dozen conversations I've had or heard through the years play through my head.
They go something like this:
"Why do we keep the Sabbath?"
"Because the 4th commandment tells us to."
"Weren't the commandments nailed to the cross?"
"Not unless you think it's fine to steal, murder, and lie!"
"Why is it important to 'remember' the Sabbath day?"
"Because it reminds us of the sovereignty of God and His power, knowing that he made the world in seven literal days. It is a memorial of Creation."
"Didn't Jesus change the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday when He rose from the cross?"
"Nope, the Pope did."
Of course, this is paraphrased and a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the thought process is guaranteed to be familiar to everyone who has grown up in the Seventh-Day Adventist church.
The commandment has been part of my life since birth. It has, at times been the most welcome of habits, and at other times, carried the most tiresome requirements of expectation. I'm just being honest, here.
At times, what spoke to my heart has been that God saw that it was good and declared it to be Holy. What an amazing thing to really think about. I don't have to "keep" the Sabbath holy. It IS holy. That actually has nothing to do with me. I can choose to allow my soul to commune with God by joining Him inside the holiness that is offered, or I can refuse it and remain outside that circle. It is, in some way, like keeping watch at a post of duty, or leaving it untended. But I don't want to get caught up in this avenue of thought today, so I won't be finishing those thoughts just now.
Because at other times, like right now in my life, the part that speaks to me is the creative power that He wanted to remind us of....not just once a year or once every seven years, but every 7 days!
So what?! Remind us of WHAT, exactly? That He has the power to create an entire planet full of complex ecosystems, planetary systems, digestive systems, DNA reproducing systems, in 144 hours?
Well, dear me, that IS impressive. There's no denying that.
BUT SO WHAT?!
So we take 9 months to recreate our own little selves in the lives of our children. It takes us 8 hours to recreate some semblance of organization in a house full of those lively babies, and takes 1 hour to recreate an image of youthful loveliness in the mirror with the help of makeup and curling irons once those little ones wreak havoc on our bodies! It takes scientists years of research to recreate some process of natural biology so we can figure out how it's supposed to work when it goes all wrong. So how exactly do those 144 hours of pure creative power relate to ME in MY life?
Creation and re-creation.
We've talked about it 'till we're blue in the face and we've still lost the meaning of it somewhere in the shadows beyond the circle of light.
Oh, just OBEY, Lisa. Just knowing that He said so is enough.
Yeah, I know. I'm not disputing that. In any way. There is beauty in obedience and there is joy in understanding that my understanding is not His understanding and I don't need to be the parent when I have a Father I can trust.
Keep listening. There's something absolutely amazing that we've just simply been missing.
Create: to make, to cause to grow, to produce from nothing.
Recreate: to make new, revive, refresh.
Look at that car above. It's old, forgotten, worn out and broke down. It would be unlikely that one could just jump in, turn the key, and motor on down the road. No one doubts, however, that with the right tools, a little determination, and a few bucks, this car could be restored and made into a useful vehicle, even pretty, perhaps a collector's item taken to car shows and talked about by enthusiasts.
But listen to this, we are ALL riddled with doubt when it comes to thinking of Jesus recreating (restoring) a man!
It's everywhere, in memes on facebook, in conversations in households all over the world, it's set in the hearts of hurting people the world over, but never anywhere more than this "throw away" society we live in in America: the "once a liar, always a liar" attitude.
Once a deadbeat, always a deadbeat. Once a fatty, always a fatty. Once a tramp, always a tramp. A tiger can't change it's stripes. Well, yeah, that's actually biblical. But why do we hang on to it so tight like we are afraid of allowing someone a second chance? Afraid of believing that someone could be different tomorrow than they were today? Afraid of our own identity changing into something foreign?
Someone once said that if given the choice, we would always choose our own familiar problems over someone else's unfamiliar problems. We choose our problems. They're comfortable. And we stay in them, complaining about how no one treats us fairly and how so-and-so is narcissistic and so-and-so is holier-than-thou and we lament about how tigers can't change their stripes.
We look around and see old creatures saying they're living new lives and still hurting those around them and making mistakes and living like their old selves and we think..."This is what redemption looks like? This is what a 'new creature' looks like? This is what CHRISTIANITY looks like?" and we doubt. We doubt what we can't see in the lives of those around us, what we can't see in the mirror no matter how hard we try. We doubt that it's possible at all. We doubt that anyone is really 'good', that any of it really matters, that there is a purpose in doing anything but trying to 'be a good person' while meeting expectations so we don't disappoint those we love.
Look. I'm speaking to Christians, here. I'm speaking to Christians living in American households believing in a literal 7 Day Creation and forgetting Who spoke it into existence.
THIS is why it's important to REMEMBER the Sabbath was a day of rest at the end of a literal 7 day creation week:
Because. He. Can. Do. It.
Because He is ABLE.
Because if He can spend 144 hours in a state of pure creative power that spoke every leaf of every species of tree, every cell of every human system, every hair on every animal, every star we see in the sky, every microscopic organism on the planet into life, HE CAN speak new life into our hearts. Into my heart.
Into your heart.
It's there, it's available, it's a REALITY, not just a POSSIBILITY.
We are Doubting Thomases just as much now as we ever were! Ask yourself: If you don't doubt the possibility of a literal creation week, why do you doubt that He has the power to speak the words of life and recreate a person from the inside out?!
No, we can't do it ourselves. We can't change our own stripes. We can't become leopards when we are clearly tigers. And yes, it does take a man giving God permission to change his heart before God can work that sort of creative power into it. That's where prayer comes in, intercessory prayer, prayer for the Holy Spirit to soften a hardened heart.
But when we just sit. And doubt. And worry. And talk about how things or people will never change....
.... denying the power of God that He has so personally called us to REMEMBER....
We are effectively FORGETTING the power, that incredible power of restoring man to the place of REFLECTING the Savior's face that is FOUND in the Word of God.....
..... while we 'remember' to wash the dishes before sundown, and bake the rolls before Sabbath, and not indulge in watching television, and to ask for Sabbath off of work.....
Let's go back for just a second to Eve. What was her sin? It wasn't eating the fruit, you remember. It was doubting that God's word was TRUTH. Doubt. It was doubt that did her in, and it's doubt that will keep us from the mighty power waiting at our hearts' doors.
So tell me, what does "Remember The Sabbath" mean to you?