Why the Sabbath is Essential for Multiethnic Ministry [Free Sabbath Guide]

By Lina Sánchez-Herrera

Pursuing multiethnic ministry on campus can be a very challenging journey. That’s why it is essential for us to regularly practice the Sabbath.


Why the Sabbath?

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work..." 
-Exodus 20:8-10

Practicing the Sabbath is about setting apart a day to be refreshed by God and celebrating the work we have done. The Sabbath helps us to grow in the awareness of God’s presence with us, as we rest and as we work. So this practice allows us rest and then to be ready to come back to pursue our mission on campus and in our world. Observing the Sabbath keeps us from physical and emotional fatigue as well as from spiritual starvation.


A Multiethnic View of the Practice of Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath might look different from one culture to another:

  • For some cultures, being alone and in silence is a refreshing practice.
  • For others, refreshing comes from being with friends and family.

Observing the Sabbath invites us to both: we need solitude and silence to listen to God, but we also need community to grow and rest.

When we consider the Sabbath under the perspective of the needy, we gain an exegesis of Scripture beyond an individualistic approach, enriching our concept of Sabbath.

When we practice the Sabbath in community, our posture should be the same as being before the Lord. We intentionally are resting and looking for refreshing for our souls and bodies, paying attention to God’s presence in the community, learning from one another and rejoicing over God’s presence among us.

If we are open to learn from different ethnic communities, our understanding of the Scripture will go deeper. When we consider the Sabbath under the perspective of the needy, we gain an exegesis of Scripture beyond an individualistic approach, enriching our concept of Sabbath. For example, an exegesis of Exodus 20:8-10, from the perspective of the poor and needy, which is the situation of many Latin American communities, will lead us to see that the command of the Sabbath is not only focus on rest, but also involves work.[1]

The call to rest one day implies that there is work to do during the other six days. Should not this approach to the Scripture lead us to solidarity with those who have no work to do during the week?

As we practice the Sabbath, we are called to consider how we can pray for those that do not have a job and help them so that they can also rest physically emotionally, financially and spiritually. They can have a Sabbath when they have the opportunity to work, so they can to stop and see the work done, and will rejoice in it!


4 Ways to Use This Sabbath Guide

Don’t wait, but start practicing the Sabbath now. Here are 4 ways you can use this resource:

  1. God is calling you to rest and trust. Pick a day this week to observe the Sabbath: stop, and rest. The universe is in the Creator’s hands, not yours. Trust that God will continue being at work.
  2. God is calling you to receive from Him. Use the guide to rest from the previous work, before you begin a conference or a busy season at school or ministry.
  3. God is calling you to acknowledge his intervention in the work done. Use this guide to stop, rest and celebrate the work that you have already done after a busy week of work.
  4. God is calling you to join the Church on meaningfully observing the day of the Lord. Consider using this guide on Sundays, choosing different scripture each week.

[1] Dr. Justo Gonzalez’ exegesis of Exodus 20:8-10 in his book La Santa Biblia (pp. 59-62)

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