The 3rd Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
Luther’s Small Catechism
What does this mean? We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise or neglect God’s Word or the preaching of it, but instead keep that word holy and gladly hear and learn it.
Read God’s Word:
The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the LORD: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath — you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound laborers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.
You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month — on the day of atonement — you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces. (Leviticus 25:1-12)
Sabbath is not simply taking a vacation. Keeping “Sabbath” includes attending to God’s Word, Prayer, Worship, and study. It includes rest and renewal. It also includes attending to God’s justice. God is concerned that people, animals, land, earth, sea, sky, not be demanded to work, work, work, produce, produce, produce all the time either. Have you ever had a break from work or taking care of someone, then returned and a new sense of energy and problem solving ideas? God says that humans are not the only ones who need Sabbath, rest, renewal, and re-charging. Have you considered this before? Why does God want soils also to rest and “all inhabitants” of a place to have the chance to return? Rest is a part of God’s method of creation and re-creation, and creativity.
Learn about or visit a place that has been used and had a chance to rest –
a vacant lot, a Superfund site, a riparian area that has been roped off for re-vegetation. (http://www.epa.gov/superfund) or
Conservation Reserve Program farmland (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/CRP/)
In October 2017, Lutherans mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with the occasion of Martin Luther writing his 95 Theses. As a church that is “always reforming,” we know that the good news of God continues to encounter us in our life. We are invited to look at classic Lutheran teachings in new ways. These daily summer devotions look at Luther’s Small Catechism through the Lens of Ecology & the Earth. Pastor Molly edited and adapted them from the website http://www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org/