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Shabbat 22

Shabbat 22

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Published by wilfredo torres
© 2014 The Center for Judaic-Christian Studies.
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© 2014 The Center for Judaic-Christian Studies.
All rights reserved

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Published by: wilfredo torres on Jun 19, 2014
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Shabbat: Last in Creation, First in

Author: Dwight A. Pryor
SHABBAT IS THE CROWN of creation and the first thing God made hol: !Then God
"lessed the se#enth da and sanctified it$ %Gen &:'() As *e noted in last month+s column,
the Sa""ath *as made for man) It esta"lishes a redem-ti#e rhthm of "lessing and rest in
*hich time itself "ecomes hallo*ed and human e.istence enters God+s intended shalom)
The e.alted -lace of Sha""at is #er"ali/ed in the 0e*ish 1raer Boo2: !3ast in creation,
first in intention)$ In fact, 0e*ish tradition can teach Christians much a"out the "enefits
and "lessings of honoring the Se#enth 4a, there" enriching our relationshi- *ith the
Hol One of Israel) Here are some -rinci-les to consider)
5) Sha""at reminds us of the goodness of the creation and the greatness of the Creator)
Nature is not *orshi--ed in the "i"lical *orld#ie*, "ut neither should it "e ignored nor
denigrated) Setting a-art the Se#enth 4a unto the 3ord honors our Creator and
ac2no*ledges the moral im-lications of His so#ereignt) Ethical monotheism, central
"oth to 0udaism and to Christianit, hangs on the essential truth of the Genesis account of
creation, concluding *ith the Sa""ath)
&) Sha""at is the end of creation "oth as its com-letion and as its goal) The *orld is
created good "ut onl God in -artnershi- *ith man can ma2e it hol) Sha""at hallo*s the
creation) On the Sa""ath, man and his 6a2er d*ell in unit %achad( in a s-ecial *a7
mutuall the create a !Sha""at 2odesh$8a Sa""ath of holiness) This union of intimate
co#enantal -artnershi- is the goal and the -assion of the Hol One *ho created man)
E#er Sa""ath 2e-t, e#er se#enth da hallo*ed, -oints to the e#entual destin of the
creation itself) The finite *orld shall "ecome the d*elling of the infinite God, the a"ode
of His glor) In that 4a, the *hole earth shall e.-erience -er-etual !Sha""at shalom$)
') Sha""at is not a natural occurrence "ut a su-ra9natural o--ortunit) A se#en9da ccle
is not self9e#ident in the cosmic order) Neither the monthl lunar ccle nor the annual
solar ccle is di#isi"le " se#en) Indeed the se#en9da *ee2 that *e ta2e for granted *as
alien to the ancient -agan *orld) Sha""at is hol onl " God+s decree and di#ine
im-rint) Those *ho honor it are sanctified in turn) The enter into a God9ordained -attern
of co#enantal e.istence that sets them a-art as a !treasured -eo-le$ that "ear His name in
the *orld)
:) Sha""at encourages us to honor the Creator " gi#ing u- our creations) ;or si. das a
*ee2 *e la"or in the *orld for our o*n ends) ;or one da *e are as2ed to remem"er the
Creator and return our creations and oursel#es "ac2 to His dominion) Sha""at reminds us
that !the Earth is the 3ord+s$ %E.o <)&<() It is onl on loan to us) On Sha""at *e
ac2no*ledge the Creator as =ing, and *e set a-art the da unto Him and His
so#ereignt) Onl under His reign do *e e.-erience the fullness of -eace) In Sha""at *e
find shalom)
>) Sha""at facilitates entering God+s !rest$) 0ust ta2ing a da off from *or2 neither
sanctifies the Sa""ath nor satisfies the soul) Sha""at is not a self9indulgent #acation so
much as it is a s-iritual in#ocation) We in#ite God " His S-irit to lead us "eside the
!*aters of rest$ %1s &')&( and restore our souls) We "uild a sanctuar in time and the
Hol S-irit comes and fills it *ith the shalom of God) In this sacred time *e find
harmon "et*een man and nature and "et*een one another) We cele"rate God+s creation
and stud His *ritten re#elation) We come into His -resence and He gi#es us rest %E.o
?) Sha""at is made for man 8"ut unto the 3ord) The s-iritual disci-line of Sa""ath
o"ser#ance "rings harmon into our homes and holiness into our *orld) It "lesses man
and it hon@ors God) Sha""at counters our natural tendencies to*ard idolatr and self9
centeredness) It redeems time and turns our hearts "ac2 to the ;ather and His -riorities)
Sha""at is a da set a-art for famil and friends, stud and -raer, scri-ture and nature 8
"ut ultimatel it is the 3ord+s da) 6a His name "e honored in all the earthA

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