Sabbath!

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A typical Sabbath in a typical Nigerian Christian family always start with a personal prayer. It could last for a minute or an hour. It sorely depends on how the ‘spirit leads’. To start off this day of worship as a family, the breakfast table must be laid on time while everyone scrambles to bathe. The content of the table must be fit for an emperor since the whole family will grace the table. Breakfast is eaten in a hurry, with warnings from the head of the family who threatens to zoom off in his car and leave anybody that is not ready at home. The children wish they could be left at home but religious activities are not to be taken lightly in an average Nigerian home.

Irrespective of the denomination of the church, the message will border on redemption, prosperity, sin and giving. After service, the family goes home and have lunch, usually rice, hence the name ‘Sunday rice’.

The day takes a different path from here. Since its a day for rest, a siesta of few minutes or hours is in order, tribal meetings, birthday parties, football viewing centers, bars, just to mention a few recreational activities. These are what makes the Sabbath day wholly for the average Nigerian.-Omolola
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I grew up understanding that humanity is often separated by conflict. These wars could end up being destructive or constructive as the case chooses. But little did i know that the idea of Sabbath could share humanity into cleavages that would turn into fault lines in the era of diversity.

The word ‘Sabbath’ is the Biblical seventh day of the week, observed as a day of rest in Judaism, Advent, or Baptism, starting at sundown on Friday till sundown on Saturday. To other Christians, Sabbath is Sunday, observed as a day of rest. For the ‘Ihsmaelites’ it’s Friday, observed in Islam as a day of rest. And to the unusual spiritually winged creatures, it’s a meeting of witches, presided over by the devil.

Whether these definitions favour the least or the majority, Sabbath has automatically been set aside as a day the jobless feels happy to see their kind, the day people realize they have families, the day armed robbers decide to maybe take a break or get caught, the day prostitutes get more clients, and the day some feel the need to do God a favour.

If more than two thousand years after Jesus walked the earth, Christians are still at war with each other concerning what day he slept, they could as well replay the whole episode so they could just wake him up and ask. – Leon
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Missing the forest for the trees describes many descriptions of the Sabbath today. The Adventist points to God’s rest on the seventh day (Saturday as we now call it) and takes his cue from there. The Protestant takes her cue from the resurrection of Christ and using spurious evidence names Sunday the Lord’s day. The Roman Catholic has a Papal declaration saying the church shifted the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

Heated debates often arise over which is right. Interesting it is to note that on the issue of Sabbath they are all wrong. On their collective issues of history they, with the exception of the Protestant, are accurate. The Protestant is yet to provide sufficient proof for the shift from Saturday to Sunday and history proves Jesus’ disciples knew no such thing.
The question though is what did they know? The disciples had sat in on Jesus’ statement, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

Their changed perspective shows when Paul of Tarsus says, “Don’t let anyone judge you…with regard to…a Sabbath day. These are shadows of the things that were to come; the reality…is found in Christ.”Apparently even those who kept the Sabbath as a day had lost its essence. It was a day that pointed to a person. In all the established codes of thought for the Adventist, Protestant and Roman Catholic this truth is established. Interpretation may vary. Objectively truth explains itself. In Jesus, a person may rest from her labors to be okay, to measure up. Jesus measures up. Because he does, if I’ve got him I do too.

In terms of days, the debate has shifted. Any and every day is a day of worship. In terms of the Sabbath, it is Christ. –Seun

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