At its core, Christian faith is concerned with the purpose of human existence. As creatures created in the image of the Creator God, among our highest purposes: creativity. We are made by God to create: to fashion and to form, to invent and to imagine, to compose and to produce, to spawn and to construct, to plant and to build.
Another of our purposes—equally high and holy: to imitate God in resting that we might delight in that which has been created.
Creation and Rest, Creation and Sabbath, are bound together. God created then rested. For six days did God create, did God busy Godself with creating
But on the seventh day, the Sabbath Day, God did rest … God grew idle … God paused to luxuriate in idleness.
God liked it so well, God made it a commandment: to rest on the seventh day. Everyone and everything is to rest: even servants!
Imagine this. Imagine it is evening on the Sabbath Day and the servant hasn’t worked all day, but the sun is setting and the master is hungry and the master says to his servant: “Fetch me my dinner.” And, from heaven, from heaven God bellows down to the master: “It’s the Sabbath day, man! Fetch your own dang dinner.”
The Sabbath, the idea of the Sabbath, is subversive … subversive of hierarchy … subversive of class and of productivity.
The Sabbath is for everyone. Even working animals. Even beasts of burden. They too, get a day—they too deserve a day—of rest from their toils. God commands it.
Creation and Sabbath are bound together in this Sanctuary.
We gather here each Sabbath day to linger and dawdle with God and each other.
I invite you to dawdle now, to linger, to wander … I invite you to join me here and meander with me around the sanctuary … or stay where you are and follow my laser pointer. It is the Sabbath … do what you want.
(We visited Lantern, the dome in the sky hung with stars. The Tiffany windows depicting sunrise and sunset. The blue-sky-ceiling and green-earth-carpet. The Venetian mosaics depicting trees bearing fruit. The gallery panels carved with 38 biblical flowers and plants. The finials on the pews, each a different plant. The decorative frieze at top-hat level depicting grapes and wheat, acorns and berries. The nautilus painted on the transept walls and the two snails carved in stone. Carvings of mother bird feeding her young, owl, bird’s nest with three eggs, lizard, dragons, rabbit, fox, squirrel, lamb caught in the bush, prehistoric birds.)
Having made all these things, finally, at last, did God bend down, bend low, kneel upon the new earth, the fragrant, musty soil, and form and shape and mold and breathe life, breathe agency into creatures made in God’s own image:
God made them short and tall, round and lean, serious and funny, shy and bold, bowl-legged and pigeon toed. God made them straight and gay. God wrapped and dipped them in different earthen hues: burnished bronze, amaretto, and whipped mocha, terrazzo brown and deepest onyx, golden wheat and palest cream.
Church: look around you and behold what God created, who God created, how God created us.
And God loved them and God blessed them.
Bless you! Bless you! Bless you!