Seven weeks intentionally set aside to experience rest as worship. There will be no Catalyst services on these seven Sundays. Instead we seek to experience Sabbath in other creative, fun & restful ways.
In the Scriptures the concept of Sabbath is far more than a ritual or theological abstraction, it is literally an invitation into the ‘good life’. Sabbath has it’s roots in the creation narrative where God creates all things in seven days and then rests experiencing joy and satisfaction in all that was made. From this, the ideas of Sabbath are communicated to Israel with noticeable features. One, they are rooted in their understanding of the way the world is intended to be, or supposed to work. Two, there is always the symbolic number 7 at play- a number which took on the meaning of ‘wholeness, completion, or fullness.’
We see these ideas in multiple places in the Old Testament law to Israel:
Every seventh day:
The people of God were to rest from their work. Rest that reminds them of their freedom from slavery. Rest that is also time for hired hands, servants, and even animals to rest as well… revealing the social justice concepts embedded in Sabbath.
Then every seventh year:
They would release any slaves (and send them away with fair compensation) and forgive all debts. This reveals powerful concepts of economic justice. In these years they are also taught to let the land lay fallow, so that even the planet from which they draw their resources can be sustainably replenished. We see an ecological component to Sabbath here.
Finally, after every seventh seven’s:
In the 50th year (7×7+1=50) they would celebrate Jubilee. On this once-in-a-lifetime year all land that had been bought or sold, would revert back to it’s original owners. This ensured that as a society the stratification of wealth would never get beyond moderate and just degrees- the gap between the wealthy and the poor would be held in check in each generation.
From these teachings we discover not just a religious ritual, but an entire way of seeing the world, life, resources, and justice. We rest regularly, not because there is no more work to do, but because life just about work or accumulation- but for enjoyment of what we do have. It teaches us to curb our striving, to be satisfied with ‘enough’, to care about other people’s resources, and to be sensitive to the environment from which we draw our resources.
Rest as Worship
Sometimes Sabbath has been twisted by the religious to be an obligation; just another ‘to-do’ on the list of things to feel guilty about. Or perhaps it was shrank down to simply mean a day where you rest from work so you can go to worship- at a building. But that misses the point. Sabbath is not rest so that you can worship. Sabbath is rest as worship.
Delight as worship. Compassion as worship. Stewardship as worship. Satisfaction as worship.
These are the ideas we desire to cultivate in each of these seven Sundays that we are calling Sabbath Undergrounds.