This Sunday starts our walk with the Gospel according to Mark for a long, long while. But at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, this Sunday is a VERY special Sunday. I am humbled to be a part of their 150th anniversary service. And there are special readings to be read on a Sunday like that.
But the Sabbath Day is also a very special day, and that is the focus for the normal texts for this Sunday. And the history of the Sabbath Day goes back, literally, to the beginning of time. People in the past were not amazed that God did not take millions of years to form the earth. They were amazed that he took SO LONG to create everything. He could have created things in a second. And it took basically an ENTIRE WEEK!
What is almost funny is that the text says God rested on the seventh day. Notice that it does NOT say God was tired. It DOES say that he blessed that day and made it holy. And that makes a difference in our lives. That also makes a difference in our perspective of God.
The Sabbath Day has never glowed. It has never FELT holy.
Holiness is not a feeling; it is a gift. For holiness to be a feeling, the focus of holiness would then have to be on ourselves. That is NOT the focus of holiness in the scriptures, and that is not the way in which God has chosen to work.
The Fall into sin could have been on a Sabbath Day. That would make sense, since Adam and Eve were trying to be like God. A lot of people have that perspective.
The gift of holiness is actually given in a very loving way. In the language of the Lutheran Confessions (our perspective of the scriptures), the gift of faith happens 'where and when it pleases God (AC IV).' This is a helpful phrase to remember the primary way in which God has chosen to work--not as a powerful God, but as a loving One.
This is the Jesus way. He, literally, is our Sabbath rest.