Reclaim the Sabbath: Part One

by | Apr 15, 2023

Let’s reclaim the Lord’s Day as a day of rest and the most important day of the week for Christians. Let’s withstand secular culture’s efforts to turn the Lord’s Day into just another day to be entertained.

The first three commandments are about relationship with God. The Lord makes it clear that He is our highest value. We were made to be in relationship with Him. Nothing can come before Him in our hearts or minds. The only way to reach human fulfillment is to be united in heart with the living God. This is why it is important to revere God in all we say and do.

The Third Commandment is, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” Honoring the Sabbath brings clarity to the Lord’s primacy in our lives. There are situations where people must work on that day, but in general, this is meant to be a day set aside to the Lord, where the Lord’s people rest in Him.

What we value most will shape our lives. This is why the Church, in obedience to the Lord, wants us to pay attention to the true value of the Lord’s Day. Doing so helps create a culture that honors and is in relationship with Him. The lack of this contributes to the Church collapsing in so many areas in this intense time of spiritual combat. Few people believe in the Real Presence, in part because we no longer honor the sacredness of the Lord’s Day.

Mass calls us again to Calvary—where, by an act of love, Jesus became an expiation for our sins. He ransomed us, canceled the debt, and broke the devil’s power. In response, we get on our knees, honor Him, and say yes to Him. We behold what the Father values the most about human life, as demonstrated in his Son who emptied Himself, humbled Himself, and became obedient even unto death on a cross.

At Mass, look at Jesus and consider: What does God crown? What’s the most important thing we as his followers are supposed to see? Humility and obedience.

Also at Mass, we confess our sins—we bring them to the Lord and bow down together as weakened, broken people uniting around the Lord’s table. We give thanks together to the Father for giving us his Son. We thank and exalt Jesus for his victory and then, through his Word, He feeds us and teaches us how to follow Him.

This day of rest reminds us that we belong to God, that we need to be strengthened by Him, and that we need Him as the center of our lives and families. With his body and blood, Jesus gives us strength to live a new way of life. When the priest says, “go,” we are sent ones, missionaries. We’re a nation set apart, and a nation has a culture that celebrates what its people value. Let’s set apart the whole day—from sundown on Saturday night until sundown on Sunday. Make it a different day.

Although honoring the Sabbath may look somewhat different for everyone, I want to share what my wife and I did while raising our children. We would have a normal Saturday doing chores and taking the kids to their sporting events. Then we would come home and have a nice dinner to bring in the Lord’s Day. We would light a candle and pray. We often had guests over, maybe other families with kids, and afterward would sing, praise the Lord, and read Scripture or the lives of the saints. Occasionally, we’d play games, watch an inspiring movie, take walks, take naps, visit people, or even help at a soup kitchen. It was a time to be together and rest.

In the morning, we as parents would be excited about going to Mass. We expressed, “This is the most important thing we’re going to do this week as a family. We love this; we aren’t just doing this out of some obligation.” Mom and Dad together have to say, “This is our first love, and we desire to honor the Lord with our entire life. This is what we most want to pass on to our children; this is our family’s culture.”

If our rhythm of life doesn’t communicate what we believe, we’re going to become lukewarm. The pressure of the world makes it intimidating to live our faith if we don’t truly know that we are part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. We are a weakened, broken people living in obedience to Jesus, knowing our lives are no longer our own. Jesus told us to not be afraid—but if we aren’t clear about what we stand for, we’re going to be double-minded.

The Lord wants to feed us. He wants to be our rest and give us his promises. Over time, honoring the Sabbath moves us out of a fleshly way of existence and away from anxiety, fear, lust, anger, and bitterness. It leads us to walk in patient love, the fruits of which are joy, peace, patience, and kindness.

Let’s recover this culture-building reality for the Church. Let’s be a holy nation who lives set apart for the glory of his name!

This talk was originally presented at id’s January 2023 Disciples’ Night, available here.

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About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Peter Herbeck</a>

Peter Herbeck

Peter Herbeck is the vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries. For more than thirty years, he has been actively involved in evangelization and Catholic renewal throughout the US, Canada, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Peter is a co-host for the weekly television program The Choices We Face. He also hosts the daily radio show Fire on the Earth. He is a frequent conference speaker, has authored When the Spirit Comes in Power and When the Spirit Speaks, and has produced CDs and booklets about discipleship and life in the Spirit. Peter and his wife, Debbie, have four children and eleven grandchildren, and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


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