Tuesday of the Week of Lent IV
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 17:19-27; Romans 7:13-25; John 6:16-27
“Thus said the Lord to me, ‘Go and stand in the Benjamin Gate…and say, “Hear the Word of the Lord… Take heed for the sake of your lives and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers”’” (Jer 17:19-22).
We have heard from the Lord, through Jeremiah, warnings and exhortations regarding judgment and wrath that would come upon their sinfulness. Now we begin to hear promises of renewal and restoration as well. Jerusalem and Judah can be renewed by observance of the Sabbath! Blessings will come upon them if the people will again “keep the Sabbath day holy.”
Certainly we live in a different world and a different religious community today. We are not Jews nor do we keep the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday). Our Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, the day of Jesus’ resurrection: not the seventh day, but the so-called “Eighth Day”—the day of recreation and renewal!
That has never meant, however, that the commandment is null and void. The Lord God still is commanding us to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” While not wanting to make Sabbath-keeping a burden for you, what might it mean for us to do something—anything—to make the Sabbath a holy day, or a more holy day? Worship is our central “holy” activity on Sunday. Might we add a brief time of Bible reading or prayer? What if we choose not to play golf, go to the mall or catch up on office work on one Sunday during Lent? Would the world as we know it come to an end? Probably not. We might find, however, that we are refreshed and renewed in some small way. Let this be a gracious gift, not a burden!
Prayer: Lord God, in some small way, help me to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy as you command. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lenten Response: See above–find some new way one Sunday in Lent, to keep the Sabbath holy.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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