Day and Night: A Meditation on Sabbath


Scripture:  Genesis 1:3-5

God said, “Let there be light, and there was light…God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness he called ‘night’.  And there was evening and there was morning—the first day.


In the very first act of creation—before separating earth and sky, land and sea, before making the birds of the air or the beasts of the field—God said, “Let there be light” and created day and night.  In that act God established perhaps the most fundamental rhythm of creaturely life.

Have you ever pondered the significance of God creating us in such a way that we spend one third of our lives asleep?  If we cannot sleep our bodies cannot be restored; our minds cannot be refreshed.  Without sleep we go mad, and eventually, we die. 

As Psalms 127 so wisely proclaims, In vain you rise early and stay up late…for the Lord grants sleep to those he loves.  So in his first act of creation God began to weave into the very fabric of our lives a rhythm of rest and work, work and rest, which we ignore to our peril.

P e r h a p s G o d k n e w l e f t t o o u r s e l v e s w e w o u l d f i l l e v e r y c o r n e r a n d c r a n n y o f l i f e w i t h w o r k o r w o r r y l i k e a s e n t e n c e w i t h o u t s p a c e s o n a p a g e w i t h o u t m a r g i n s e s p e c i a l l y i f t i m e s w e r e h a r d o r m o n e y w a s s c a r c e o r h e a v e n f o r b i d w o r k b e c a m e t h e p r i m a r y w a y w e t r i e d t o b r i n g m e a n i n g a n d p u r p o s e t o o u r l i v e s .

Le t me repeat.  Perhaps God knew, left to ourselves, we would fill every corner and cranny of life with work or worry—like a sentence without spaces on a page without margins—especially if times were hard or money was scarce or, heaven forbid, work became the primary way we tried to bring meaning to our lives.

So before reflecting on big ideas like sabbath or sacred time, maybe we need to begin at the beginning—with our need for rest.  By the way, did you notice that in God’s timetable, the first day began in the evening not the morning?  In other words, it began with a time of rest.  It began not with our doing, but with God doing something for us:  giving sleep to those he loves.


Am I getting the rest I need?  Do I embrace the rhythm of rest and work God established in creation or do I fight against it?


Thank you, Lord, that you created me in such a way that I need and want rest.  Teach me why; and help me to value rest as much as you do.  In Jesus name, Amen.



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