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Revd Sara's Reflections - w/c 2nd June 2024

Revd Sara’s Reflection Sunday 2nd June 2024 Pentecost 2 Sabbath

A verse from 2 Corinthians 4: ‘It is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’

At the very beginning, Creator God, you called for light to shine amidst the dark, empty void of space. Jesus Christ, come, by your grace, into this space, into this moment. Holy Spirit, pour yourself into my life and the lives of those around me without measure in this season of the Spirit. Thank you, Holy and Gracious God, that you are more ready to forgive than I am to confess. As I open myself to you, you shine afresh in my heart, renewing my courage and giving me the grace I need to step out again in confidence, knowing that you are at work within me. Thanks be to God. Amen.

What does your weekend involve? Does it represent a change in rhythm to the rest of the week? From the very first story in the Bible, we learn about how God rested on the sabbath. Throughout Scripture you can hear the same invitation: human beings should do the same and regard it as a day of rest and consecration. In 21st Century British culture, our connection with this ancient practice of Sabbath is a bit confused. The original Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, what we would now call Saturday, but often our thinking has equated it more with Sunday, and it is Sunday which we sometimes regard as a day of rest. This has developed in Christian societies because the Resurrection took place on a Sunday (‘the first day of the week’) so that became, for the early Christians, a day of celebration and worship. It appears that this was formalised under the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great in March 321, when he passed legislation that Sunday should become a day of rest; gradually this developed into equating this day with the Hebrew ‘Sabbath’. It is clear that in the time of Jesus, ‘Sabbath’ was a red-hot issue. The Pharisees and scribes who upheld the law paid close attention to the enforcement of Sabbath laws. Indeed, the laws as laid down in the Hebrew Scriptures had been further augmented to provide a buffer zone of safety around the original demands. The laws were enforced rigorously, with harsh penalties for breaking them. It would appear that although Jesus had a high regard for Scripture, stating very clearly on at least one occasion: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.’ (Matthew 5:17) he seems to sit lightly to the demands of Sabbath law, perhaps because he sees how these laws have become over-exaggerated and are applied with a disproportionate amount of zeal.

We have God’s pattern of taking sabbath rest during the week, praying for you all as you do

love and prayers Revd Sara

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