The Forgotten Sabbath

       As the church, as the body of Christ, we’re pretty good at
remembering the Easters from year to year. And we do pretty well at
remembering the crucifixion, although probably not as consistently as we
do Easter and perhaps with not as much emphasis as we should. But...
One of the things we often overlook in this season is the day between
the crucifixion and the resurrection. I call it the forgotten Sabbath. It’
s the time spent while Jesus is busy conquering the grave. It’s the time
we spend in limbo, wondering what comes next… wondering “Now what?”
“Now what are we going to do?” It’s the time between the before and
the after…

       We’ve all experienced sabbaths in our lives, haven’t we? Life is
moving along and suddenly there is an event of such magnitude that the
clocks stop, our circumstances change radically, and we are left
wondering, where do I go from here?

       I can recall many sabbaths in my life, but one comes to mind that
I’ll share with you as an example of what I’m talking about. Following my
time in the Marine Corps, I took a job as General Manager of an
aircraft handling company at Bush Intercontinental Airport. We loaded
airplanes, cargo and baggage, and people. We loaded KLM, British
Airways, Aeromexico, Lufthansa, US Mail and countless others. One day
I was in the tail cargo hold of a big charter that had come in from the
Ivory Coast. I was with the US Customs inspector looking at the cargo
prior to unloading. I stepped out onto the big loading equipment and it
malfunctioned and threw me to the concrete some 20 feet below.

       That day, the clocks stopped for me. I had a closed head injury,
two broken arms, a broken pelvis and other issues. There were several
weeks of fuzziness - a mental fog from the head injury that took me
months to emerge from… and as I recovered mentally and physically, as
I experienced a sabbath of waiting and wondering what do I do now that
I can’t work, I can’t formulate or find all my words, I can’t use my
arms, I can’t walk, I can’t focus my thoughts on anything for any length
of time - what am I going to do now?

       Do you have any sabbaths you have experienced? Maybe you’re in
one now. Sabbaths can be dark. Sabbaths can be foggy. Sabbaths can
be confusing, Disorienting. We don’t wait very well do we?

       But one thing is sure. Sabbaths come to an end. In every sabbath
I have experienced… in every sabbath I have gone through in my life…
the sun always rises on Sunday. There is always an Easter morning on
Sunday after a period of sabbath. Because you see God didn’t design the
sabbath for fog and uncertainty… No he did not. God didn’t
design the
sabbaths for despair or loss or chaos or darkness. No he did not. God
made the sabbath for rest and rebuilding and refocusing, and
experiencing his love and redemption and forgiveness, and doing amazing
things like conquering death and hard times and circumstances that seem
like they are nights without end and places where the light of hope
doesn't shine through. God designed the sabbath for the renewal of the
world, the preparation for the coming dawn, the coming light and power
and glory that is redemption and recovery and resurrection. After the
sabbath… after every sabbath… comes the resurrection!

       And so it is with this particular Sabbath. On the dawning of the
new day, the angel rolls the stone away and Jesus walks out of the
grave victorious. What does that magnificent fact mean to you and me?
It means that Jesus has taken all of your sins, all of my sins, all of the
sins of the world and exchanged them with us for his righteousness… the
righteousness of God, so that now there is no longer a separation, no
longer a chasm between God and humanity. Jesus is the bridge. Jesus
paid it all.  Now all we have to do is confess with our mouths and
believe in our hearts that he is Lord of all and then we get to take part
in the glory of the resurrection. His resurrection becomes our
resurrection. It’s that amazing and it’s that simple.

       Let Jesus be the dawning light of resurrection in whatever
sabbath you find yourself in. Choose every day to begin your life with a
mindset of resurrection made possible for you through the resurrection-
power of Christ. This Easter morning, this Resurrection Sunday…Let His
resurrection be your resurrection. In the name of the Father and the
Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

         Pastor Steven †

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