God’s “greenbelt”, the Sabbath


The practice of worshiping on the day Jesus rose from the dead – the first day of the week – goes back to the time of the apostles (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; Acts 20:7; i Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10). However, practicing the Lord’s Day is extremely difficult in our society today. Few neighbors treat it as a ‘greenbelt’ in time. Many, including Christians, look bewildered when you decline an invitation to a soccer game during morning or evening worship. In fact, many church activities on Sunday have less to do with inculcating the faith than with providing ‘safe’ things for kids to do.

…Setting aside the ordinary callings and pastimes of the week, our calling on the Lord’s Day is to share, together with our coheirs, in the powers of the age to come. It is not by simply emptying the day with a list of rules, but by filling it with treasure hunting, that the Christian Sabbath orients us, our families, and our fellow saints to our heavenly citizenship. However, everyone around you sees it as the ideal day for a trip to the mall, sports, and other entertainments. Whatever fills our Sundays fills our hearts throughout the week. The Lord’s Day is not a prison but a palace. It is a wonderful gift to turn off the devices that interrupt our daily schedules and to push our roots down into the fertile soil that produces trees in God’s garden. It is a delight to set aside our normal associations with friends and coworkers – even non-Christian family members – in order to commiserate with fellow heirs of the kingdom concerning the news we’ve heard about the age to come.

ordinary-MHorton-2014Taken from chapter 9,  “God’s ecosystem,” of Michael Horton’s Or-di-nar-y: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), which I continue to read with rich profit.

In this chapter, Horton teaches and applies the beautiful organic idea of the church (especially as God’s living, growing garden) found throughout the Word of God. In this particular section he brings in “the Sabbath as God’s greenbelt.” The paragraphs I have quoted are found on pp.176-77.

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