Acts 19:23 About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. 24 A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. 25 These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, “Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. 26 You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods.“
Things get testy when the apostle Paul challenges the practice of worshipping idols made by human hands. It’s one thing to preach the gospel which one can accept or reject. It’s another when the message threatens peoples’ livelihoods.
I see a bit of a correlation with a conversation I’m having right now with some fellow pastors around the keeping of the Sabbath. For the most part we admit we have embarrassingly little experience or knowledge of the practice of the Sabbath (not to be confused with a day off). It simply hasn’t been a significant part of modern Christian practice apart from “going to church”. I don’t mean to suggest Sunday church cannot be a part of Sabbath, but there’s much more to it from a biblical perspective. And of course, as pastors, Sunday church is part of our “work”. So we’re learning as we go.
Why has the modern church mostly neglected the keeping of Sabbath? I’m inclined to think part of the reason is economic. Over the last 50 years or so the last vestiges of a collective/communal Sabbath (things like blue laws) have disappeared, mostly replaced by more opportunities for commerce. To our detriment.
Lord teach us the way of Sabbath, especially in this time of great weariness of the soul – the kind of weariness that a nap or day off or vacation cannot fix. Give us grace to lean into practices that attend to the renewal of spirit we so desperately need. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.