“On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”
The final line in the longer version of Luke’s Passion Gospel might not be the most important one, but it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Luke’s Passion is a story of nonstop action from the time Jesus sat down at dinner with his disciples until Joseph laid Jesus’ body in the tomb and the women set out to prepare spices. There is frantic dialogue, character development, anxiety to the point of sweating blood, fear, anger, tears, and unspeakable violence in this story. And then it stops.
The disciples are off hiding somewhere. The spices sit waiting. Joseph wonders how the Council will respond to his actions. The women rested, according to the commandment. As the busyness of Holy Week looms large, the word I’m hearing loud and clear this day is to not forget the importance of following God’s commandment and resting on the Sabbath.
There are sermons to write, bulletins to print, decisions to be made, logistics to logic, but God says that all that can wait for a moment while we all sit and rest in God’s loving embrace. The next 10 days are a marathon, not a sprint, and if my super-star runner of a wife has taught me anything in her training, the key to a successful long run is teaching yourself to start slow. Negative splits are the best assurance of a good finish. So that’s what I plan to do. Tomorrow will be Sabbath: a quiet, rainy day of rest and reflection before the insanity of 15 services in 9 days begins. I pray you’ll find some Sabbath time too, dear reader. God knows, we’ll all be better off if we do.