If you can't join a prayer cluster tonight, then you can watch and work through the prayer meeting material at your own leisure: https://youtu.be/4I1PlBjZ3LU
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exodus 20:8-11).
What's the reading on your fuel gauge? After four months of the non-stop, unrelenting pace, juggling childcare, work, zoom, wider family issues, I feel I'm running on fumes. Many of you are feeling the same way, if not worse! It's against that background of tiredness and weariness that we should receive the 4th commandment. God intends the sabbath to be a gift, not a grind! After slaving away in Egypt for generations, working 24/7, one of the benefits of redemption for the Israelites was the gift of rest on 1 day out of 7. In Egypt they were used and abused as human doings - but with God they were being restored as human beings, made in the image of God - who worked for 6 days and rested on the sabbath. Theologian Walter Brueggemann suggests the "sabbath is resistance" against the non-stop Egyptian-esque culture of production and consumption in which we live. We put down our tools to remind ourselves that our lives and destinies are not in our own hands - that we depend on God to supply our needs irrespective of our productivity and performance. That's good news for us when there are dark storm clouds gathering on the economic horizon.
There's another dimension to the sabbath which anticipates the gospel. In the pagan world, people served and slaved for the gods in order to get what they wanted and to avoid what they didn't want. However, the God of the Bible isn't that way at all. He showed us His generosity and grace on another week, when God the Son worked for 6 days, finished his work on the Friday afternoon, and rested on the sabbath - that was Easter Week! Jesus rose again at the dawning of the first day of a new week for all creation, having made redemption for our sins. The Christian is invited to come, rest and be re-created by Christ (the Lord of the Sabbath), before they go to serve and work for Christ in the world (the Lord of the Harvest). That's why Jesus bids us: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Someone said recently: if the yoke is feeling too heavy, maybe we're carrying more than we should? So with that in mind enjoy some summer sabbaths!