I have just discovered this gem of a series called ‘On the Cost and Grace of Parish Ministry’ by Jason Goroncy. What follows is a snippet from the ninth part of the series on the subject of Sabbath.
Sabbath is a setting free, and this happens “through Jesus Christ who in his incarnation entered into the nothingness and dread of human depravity in order to bring creation into the saving rest of God. The Bible’s word for this action is ‘grace’.
Grace is never a soft thing.
Grace is a man groaning on a cross, dying on a bitter tree, not only for his friends but also for those who would wish him and his Father dead.
Grace is God redeeming in Holy love.
Grace is God in his eucatastrophic action in the face of Nature’s catastrophe.
Grace is God taking seriously the scandalous nature of sin’s offence, and himself going down into the experience of nothingness and dread, into hell, into death, into the furnace of His own wrath, into the radical depths of its wound, in order to save.
There can be no higher gift.
This grace alone, the grace of the initiating Father, lived in the obedient Son, and made alive through the Spirit, carries humanity home and brings creation into the Sabbath rest of God. Only then can Paul sing, ‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom 8:38-39).
Now the ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ calls us into his rest in order that we might join him in doing the things that He is doing ‘on the Sabbath’ every day of the week. There can be no place here for that Sabbatarianism that consecrates one day out of all the others, In Christ, every day is about Sabbath rest, renewal and healing, that our entire ministry may be performed under the grace-aegis of God. To keep the Sabbath is never about conformity to rules and regulations (Col 2:22), but is about conformity to Christ who is Lord of the Sabbath.”
And this is truly a grace. God is good.