I meet with a group of worship leaders about once a month. We recently had a discussion on the Sabbath. It was something I thought I had figured out, but in the midst of the discussion, I began to look at it from a new angle.
The Rhythm of my week
Sunday is not a day off for me. As a worship leader I am responsible for a lot during Sunday, and my level of stress can go up or down depending on if volunteers show up, and if I’ve done a well in my preparation during the week. My hope is to be engaged in worship with the rest of the congregation, but sometimes I have to sacrifice that in order to allow the rest of the congregation to worship. In talking to a lot of pastors they agree in saying they have to take their own sabbath since Sunday is not a day of rest for them
For me this day is Friday. I spend time in the word. I do what I need to recharge whether it’s going for a run, going to my favorite coffee shop, or spending time with friends. I do everything I can to avoid thinking about work unless completely necessary. Just as when God creates the earth, stands back and looks at his creation and says that “it is good.” I try to do the same on Friday.
While discussing this with the group of worship leaders I heard myself say, “well on my sabbath I do this,” Something about the phrase “my sabbath” just rubbed me the wrong way. Aren’t I part of a body of worshippers? Isn’t observing the sabbath together one of the main things we do together? If I’m not treating Sunday as a day of rest, how is the congregation supposed to be expected to? Honestly this is something I’m still wrestling with, but the great thing about wrestling with this is I have scripture to fall into.
The Jews observe sabbath on Saturday. The reason we moved it to Sunday is because that was the day Jesus rose from the dead. In doing this we acknowledge that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, and “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). Jesus offers a greater rest for we have a certainty of our salvation through His blood.
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
Part of the sabbath was having access to the temple where the priests would have access to the Lord through sacrifice. This was no longer necessary for God said, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6). If this is the case then the sabbath rest will always be available to us as well.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
So how does that make us approach our sabbath? I think two good questions I learned from another worship leader is “What gives you energy?” and “What drains your energy.” God intends for us to have times where we refill ourselves. We need to step back and trust that God is always at work for us, and we can’t control everything 24/7.
This is something I will continue to wrestle with, but here are some take-aways. First, I will continue to designate a day besides Sunday to rest and recharge. Second, find ways to engage in spiritual rest with my community on Sunday. Finally, learn to always have a sense of rest no matter what through Jesus.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7