God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 1:31 -Genesis 2: 3
I think we’re all pretty familiar with the creation story in Genesis; many of us know it by heart. When reading it again yesterday it dawned on me for the first time that there is no mention of an eighth day. I know this may sound silly, but why not?
The seventh day is presented as a day in which God rested from his work. This past Sunday Matthew, my pastor, asked if we really knew what this meant. Was God really taking a rest? Was he tired from all the energy spent during the last 6 days cooking up the universe? Perhaps he was recharging his batteries in preparation for the remainder of eternity. From what we know of God, this doesn’t sound like him.
More likely God was enjoying his creation, his handiwork, and continuing to do so to this day in a very participatory fashion. There is no eighth day because This Is It – the Seventh Day – the Sabbath. We’re in it. The seventh day is all of God’s glorious universe and the gift of life that has been given us. The seventh day has been set aside for us to enjoy all of his creation. There is no dreary Monday morning with God – it’s all Sunday afternoon.
Of course Adam and Eve go and screw things up and then everyday becomes Monday with all of the attendant blues. Drudge, drudge, drudge and more drudge all week long until we come to that one day of the week when we join with others to thank God for.…..all the drudge. But then the risen Jesus comes along and says, “Hey, snap out of it! It’s Sunday, already!” (Luke 4:18-19)
The pre-resurrection Jesus made this point when he chose to do his ‘works’ on the sabbath. The Pharisee’s legalistic devotion to a ‘holy day’ led them away from the true spirit of the Sabbath. Keeping the sabbath holy can’t mean just setting aside one day a week, for going to church or synagogue. Of what value can that be to God if we have pride, anger or contempt in our hearts? (Matt 5:23-24) To keep holy the Sabbath is to celebrate daily the beauty and love of God and his creation, not just pick one day out of seven to honor him. Many of us work on Saturdays and Sundays and why not? As long is we daily honor what God has given us then any day, or every day, can be the Sabbath.
I don’t think we should ever try to rationalize a workaholic lifestyle. It seems that the majority of us need at least one day of rest per week. Some people, though, have no choice, they have to work long hard hours. The rest of us are blessed with a choice. But for those of us who are Sunday (or Saturday) church goers, what if we learn to celebrate and enjoy life every day? Even among all the challenges and sorrows that we may face, if we could learn to leave our worries in the Lord’s hands, then we may find that we do not need a day of forced rejuvination. We could see Sunday as a gift and not the necessity it has become. We needn’t long for that one day of intense spirituality (as I used to do) but instead see it as a bonus, a day in which we gather in fellowship with and for God. I wonder how different things could be if we understood that one day a week is just not enough. Nor what was intended.