Set Free on the Sabbath – A. Kuyper

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According to Jesus’ own words, mustn’t the Sabbath be a day for ‘breaking the bonds’?

…For what is the reality of daily life for thousands and thousands of people except one continuous, entangled bondage? It amounts to being bound in many ways and to various degrees. This causes the wings of our souls to flap first in this direction and then in that, and it severely restricts the free and exhilarating spreading of our wings of faith.

…That’s exactly why there is a Sabbath to which God calls his people, saying: ‘Shake off your dust; rise up; sit on your thrones, O Jerusalem! Free yourself from the chains around your neck!’ (Isa 52:2). That’s when the bonds are loosened. These can be the bonds of daily labor that can choke and oppress us. They can be the bonds of busy and turbulent living. Or they can be the bonds of being upset and restless. That’s when those who can bring praises bring them. That’s when those who know the way to God make their way to the ‘appointed place of their salvation’ That’s when those unfettered from their bonds rejoice. That’s when they feel tremendously exalted, regal, and liberated. It’s on the Sabbath!

At least that’s what happens when they give God all the glory on the Sabbath. That’s what happens when they turn out for it in righteousness. I can’t turn Sunday into a Sabbath by doing nothing. I can’t do it by behaving properly. I can’t do it by doing my duty. I can’t even do it by simply praying and meditating. The Sabbath is a gift from God. I always only succeed in making my bonds tighter, but he’s the only one who can loosen them. My determined efforts and attempts to turn Sunday into a Sabbath only produce a hollow day that is nothing more than pretense and empty forms. The Sabbath only comes alive when he’s pleased to hear our humble prayers. That’s when divine abundance pours into our empty lives. That’s when he blows warmth and a glow back into the cold coals of my heart.

And if this is what happens in your experience, sisters and brothers, then the loosening of the bonds of your daily labor becomes the glorious prophecy of an entirely different loosening. It indicates that your Sunday is definitely a day of resurrection. It signifies that your Savior has loosened the shackles of death and hell and that shattered Satan’s work.

What a glorious experience, then, to be transported far beyond yourself in sacred joy.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.30-32.

This particular meditation (#10) is based on Luke 13:16, part of the account of Jesus’ miracle of healing the woman who had a spirit of infirmity for 18 years, a miracle that occurred on the Sabbath in a synagogue.