The Common Good
August 2005

Holy Rest

by Joel Kurz | August 2005

Michaela Bruzzese is to be commended for her article regarding the Sabbath (

Michaela Bruzzese is to be commended for her article regarding the Sabbath ("The Sabbath Promise," May 2005). Christians have much to benefit from its restoration in life and practice.

Growing up in a pastor’s family of German-Jewish heritage, I found that our Friday Shabbat service not only synthesized Passover and Eucharist through the ceremony of bread and wine, it also broke the week’s bustling pace and ushered in a centered rhythm of sacred rest with a view toward Sunday’s congregational worship.

Each week is a Holy Week "in miniature." Observing Friday as the day of our creation and Christ’s crucifixion allows an emphasis on prayer, fasting, and sacrificial acts of love. Saturday then becomes more than God’s rest from the work of creation; it also becomes Christ’s "rest" in the tomb and our rest as baptized (or "buried") people. Keeping Saturday as the seventh day of rest it is, through restraint of labor and attention to spiritual rest as well, heightens anticipation for Sunday as the beginning of the new week - the first day of God’s creative work; the day of light, resurrection, and the church’s communal feast.

Bruzzese’s call to reclaim the Sabbath as a day of holy rest should remind us that we need respite from the work that wearies, just as we need respite for carrying out our tasks as disciples in the Lord’s redemptive community and renewed creation.

Joel Kurz
Forsyth, Missouri

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