When I was in High School, many of the students wanted to reclaim a part of their school day for nap time. Like me, they remembered that simple pleasure from their Kindergarten year with fondness. All of us take naps. The children’s are usually planned, while for the rest of us, we just pass out when the seat is comfortable enough and the body tired enough. In some cultures, the afternoon nap is an unwavering bastion of rest. For believers in Yahweh, rest is given in the form of one day every week. In Scripture, it is called Sabbath.
We all need physical rest… a certain length of time to sleep at night and a regular day of rest once every week. Even in the Law of Moses God established rules for not overworking animals. How much more important is it that we are not overworked. But there’s an aspect to Sabbath (or rest) that we often overlook.
Our bodies need rest, but we are more than just physical beings. Our souls need rest as well. We know this to be true as we strive to meet this longing with other people, or with food, or television, or a hobby, something to refresh our spirits. But we were created to find rest in the One who created us. That is ultimately what the Sabbath was given to us for. To find genuine, lasting, valuable rest for the whole self, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual in the One person who can provide healing rest to us. It is in and through being in the presence of God with His people, giving our worship and receiving His grace through His word, His people, and His supper (communion) that our whole selves find rest.
There are many reasons to take a day off. There are many reasons to go to church on Sunday. Sometimes we even do these things because we are told we are supposed to. But these times of rest are a gift not a burden. They are given to us to help us find the One we need. And so together, we meet with Jesus, and we can rejoice.