Happy Moltmann Monday! Vacation’s over and I’m back to share some thoughts about Sabbath, from God in Creation. But before that, if you haven’t yet heard, Moltmann’s NEW (and possibly last…though we cannot speak too much about this lest I burst into tears and/or flames at the thought) book is officially out! It’s called Ethics of Hope. Here’s a brief description: “Building on his conviction that Christian existence and social matters are inextricably tied together in the political sphere, Moltmann unfolds his ethics in light of eschatology, clearly distinguishing it from prior and competing visions of Christian ethics. He then specifies his vision with an ethic of life (against the dominant ethic of death), an ethic of earth (against today’s utilitarian ethic), and an ethic of justice (against today s social injustice and global conflicts). In the process, he applies this framework to concrete issues of medical ethics, ecological ethic, and just-war ethics.”
Mine should arrive this week and you can bet I’ll post snippets in upcoming Monday blog editions. But you should get your own!
Now, onto Sabbath thoughts, from pages 276 and 279:
The Sabbath opens creation for its true future. On the sabbath the redemption of the world is celebrated in anticipation. The sabbath is itself the presence of eternity in time, and a foretaste of the world to come…God rests ‘from his works’ on the sabbath, but in doing so he at the same time rests in face of his works…On the sabbath the resting God begins to ‘experience’ the beings he has created. The God who rests in face of his creation does not dominate the world on this day: he ‘feels’ the world; he allows himself to be affected, to be touched by each of his creatures.”
We’ve been talking about worship at Journey over the past few weeks. and last night we discussed worship as expectation. Worship does funny things with time (at least theologically speaking). While we exist in temporal, tick-tock time (5pm Sunday night at our church location) we also in a sense gather within and beyond time. In worship, when we celebrate it as a feast of expectation, we experience time stretched out like an accordion, backward in remembrance and forward in hope and promise. It is this arc between remembrance and hope that gives meaning to our rest. We are face to face with God, and God is face to face with us, and there is peace and a “fullness.” In worship. we become a people who see the coming Realm of God not only as “already and not yet” but also as “always and forever” and “alpha and omega.”
Why does this matter? Well, because what we feel about the “end” or completion of things always, always matters. It colors our worldview and our choices. When we set aside space to worship not only in time but “beyond” time, we live into being people of hopeful expectation, and that’s one of the most important formative practices a Christian ought to undertake.