In Praise of the Sabbath: A Morning Liturgy

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes a beautiful little book (100 pages) called, The Sabbath.  I often wondered why so many Christian authors regularly quote him, but after reading him, I can see the affinity there is in understanding God in a wider wonder world:

“Some religions build great cathedrals or temples, but Judaism constructs the Sabbath as an architecture of time.  Creating holiness in time requires a different sensibility than building a cathedral in space…

It is not in space, but in time that we find God’s likeness. In the Bible, no thing or place is holy by itself; not even the Promised Land is called holy [take note those who fight over the so-called “holy land”]…

One of the most distinguished words in the Bible is the word qadosh, holy; a word which more than any other is representative of the mystery and majesty of the divine. Now what was the first holy objects in the history of the world? Was it a mountain? Was it an altar?

It is, indeed, a unique occasion at which the distinguished word qadosh is used for the first time: in the Book of Genesis at the end of the story of creation. How extremely significant is the fact that it is applied to time: “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy”… This is a radical departure from accustomed religious thinking.”

Thus, today’s offering is Heschel’s Sabbath Morning liturgy:

“To God who rested from all action on the seventh day and ascended upon His throne of glory;

He vested the day of rest with beauty;

He called the Sabbath a delight.

This is a song and praise of the seventh day, on which God rested from His work.

The seventh day itself is uttering praise.

A song of the Sabbath day:

“It is good to give thanks unto the Lord!

Therefore, all the creatures of God bless Him.”

The Sabbath teaches all beings Whom to praise.


Posted at sundown – the beginning of the last Sabbath of 2014:

December 26 at 16:21 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
This entry was posted in Prayers, Proverbs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to In Praise of the Sabbath: A Morning Liturgy

  1. Pingback: #IfIWere22 (Time and Timelessness) | More Enigma Than Dogma

  2. I really enjoyed this, thank you. An amazing insight that the first ‘thing’ to be called holy was ‘time’ – I’m recently enjoying discovering more about Christ as our Sabbath Rest than I’ve known before and your insight has given me more upon which to meditate. Thank you, and thank you for following my blog. I look forward to exploring yours.


  3. Yes; it continues to be a pleasure to share Christ in all His generosity – around the world or across the street. You are familiar with Psalm 139 that speaks to the fact that “even there” God is present – even we who are “on the far side of the sea…”

    If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

    Grace to you. r


  4. petraperkov says:

    Rusty, this is so true! It made me remember some truths I had once known but forgotten in the meantime… What I’m trying to say is that you write about things that really matter, not being afraid to challenge your readers. Bravo!


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