Sabbath, rest and Sunday

“THIS IS GOING TO BE A BUSY MONTH!” The month of June is a special month for all school-going children (primary and secondary). It’s the school holidays! Time to rest and play and go on a vacation. This would be a typical Singaporean parent’s plan for the family for holidays.

The newspapers are filled with advertisements for cheap and good holidays. Parents surf the net for hours looking for the best deals. en we have the churches that have plans for the church camps and retreats. “Spiritual holidays’’, we may call them. Why just spend your money and time visiting places, why not come and be renewed and revived at the church retreat?

Whether we are taking a vacation or attending a church retreat or just staying at home, what we are really looking for is rest. Perhaps, we have been looking at the wrong places where we could find rest.

The Lord knew this from the beginning and that is why He had Sabbath planned for us right there every week. It is unfortunate that we have missed His plan for us and we go on working, bringing stress to ourselves and then forcing ourselves to rest when we are suffering in pain (physically and mentally worn-out). Sabbath-Rest is one of the great gifts from God for us.

“… seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.” (Exodus 20: 10).

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” – this is one of the commandments given to us by God. God had ordained rest just as much as the other nine commandments. However, have you ever felt guilty of breaking this commandment?

Have you ever felt that you sinned because you have not kept the “Sabbath”?

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27.

Just as in all the other commandments Jesus gives the fulfilment of this law as He lived it out in His own life. Rest – Holy Sabbath – would do us good for now and the future as we come and find our rest in Him each week taking a break from the “rat race”. There is a need to rethink our thoughts on rest and Sabbath.

Here are some quotes to ponder:

“Tell me what the young men of England are doing on Sunday and I will tell you what the future of England will be.” – William Ewart Gladstone.

“Sunday is a divine and priceless institution, the necessary pause in the national life. It is the birthright of every British subject, our responsibility, privilege and duty to hand on to posterity.” – Sir Winston Churchill.

The Rev James Nagulan is the President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference.



It’s all about ‘being in Christ’

CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY MEANS “being in Christ”. In discovering this new relationship “in Christ”, we are made new creations (2Cor. 5:17). We no longer answer to our old nature but live a new life for and through Him (Gal.2:20). As long as we keep fellowship in Him we are living the Christian life.

Christian spirituality has to be “in Christ”; centred and inspired about Him. It is not about becoming more religious, or pious, or adopting a new Christian culture. e context and goal of this new life has to be Jesus Christ. He is God’s Word and revelation; the fullness of God’s grace and truth. In Him we receive forgiveness and have peace and reconciliation with the Father. Christian spirituality must be Christological. A spirituality that deviates from Jesus the Christ is some other.

“Being in Christ” is like moving into a new home; this new home is Christ.

We become conscious of and “at home” in this new dwelling (Ps.90:1). us, we must live in a constant awareness and receptivity to His presence. Being mindful and responsive to His presence is essentially communion with Him, praying unceasingly, waiting on the Lord, and abiding in Him.

“Being in Christ” means perceiving life through Christ. Not only were we freed from our old habits, we find ourselves living in a new reality; the Father’s world. We discover that God is active and concerned for His world. We define past, present and future in His light. Life has to be comprehended and expressed according to the Creator and Lord of Life; He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. In Him are the keys for life and death.

“Being in Christ” also means resting. The words of the Psalmist, “when I awake, I am still with you,” (Ps.139:18b) declared his state of rest. Not only was he conscious of God’s presence, he rejoiced that even in his unconscious sleep, God was there for him. He was resting in God’s abiding love and grace. Even during those periods of unknowing, dreaming and messing-up of our lives, God had been there for us. He would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb.13:5). We always rested on His almighty providence. He is mighty to save (Isa.63:1), His grace is always sufficient (2Cor.12:9), and in all things He works for the good (Rom.8:28).