Sabbath keeping means participating in corporate, focused worship of God with our church family (Leviticus 23:3; Isaiah 56:1-8; 66:22, 23; Mark 1:21; 3:1-4; Luke 4:16; 13:10; Hebrews 10:25; Revelation 14:7
). This nurtures both our “vertical”
and our “horizontal”
relationships—those with God and with our fellow human beings.
Worship, as inspired by the divine: God desires corporate worship (Isaiah 66:22-23
). Jesus attended and led out in worship services while on earth (Luke 4:16
Acting on the principle of worshipping: It’s clear that corporate worship is an important part of our Sabbath experience. We’re to be there not only bodily but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually emptied of our week and of ourselves. When we are in the place of worship, it is all about Him, not about us, whether we are preaching, listening, or praising Him in song.
“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. . . . Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise”
), for Sabbath is a happy day!
Guiding Principles for Sabbath Observance.
BY MAY-ELLEN COLÓN
The following are based on God’s character and provide a foundation for Sabbath practices:
Preparing for this day to enjoy its benefits.
Resting from work, life’s burdens, and secular concerns and distractions.
Renewing: observing the day in a manner that renews us physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially.
Healing: observing the day in such a way as to foster healing, relief, release, liberation, and refreshment. Any action that hurts oneself or others is Sabbathbreaking.
Celebrating the creation, or birthday, of the world, and of our redemption. Its atmosphere should be one of celebration, joy, and delight.
Sanctifying: keeping the Sabbath day holy; setting it apart for a special focus on God, His Word, and His agenda, to seek intimacy with Him, embrace Him wholly, and nurture a love relationship with Him that makes us holy.
Remembering, reflecting, and rejoicing about creation, redemption, and Christ’s second coming and the creation of the new earth.
Worshipping: participating in corporate, focused worship of God with our church family.
Basking: enjoying, studying, experiencing, and basking in the world God made, rather than working at maintaining it.
Responding: a joyful human response to God’s grace in obedience to His loving command to remember Him and His Sabbath gift.
Trusting God to take care of what we leave undone during the hours of the Sabbath. Learning to depend on God rather than on ourselves.
Fellowshipping: nurturing our relationships with family and friends.
Affirming: rightly representing the atmosphere of the Sabbath by a spirit of acceptance, love, and affirmation rather than a spirit of judgment and criticism.
Serving other people in love and witnessing lovingly for God.
Caring for necessary physical needs on Sabbath; no creature—animal or human—should be allowed to suffer on this day.