What are We Building? A Sanctuary in Time

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3 that leaders are about building. We build on the foundation that is Jesus Christ.

What are you building as a leader? That’s a question that many continue to ask as they survey how their congregations respond to Covid 19, Black Lives Matter, Critical Race Theory, politics, refugees, and so much more. As leaders, we survey the hope and the wreckage around us, asking, “What am I building in this place?”

On the seventh day of creation and while building the tabernacle, God points to something leaders need to build: Sabbath. Abraham Heschel calls the Sabbath “a sanctuary in time.” “Heschel poignantly states that ‘we look to the Sabbath as our homeland, as our source and destination.’ Indeed, Jewish tradition views the delight of the Sabbath rest as a foretaste of the world to come.” (André Villeneuve)

Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week marks the beginning of God’s new creation – a day that speaks of the world turned right side up and of God’s promises coming to fruition.

As the Sabbath of the Old Testament gives way to the celebration of the resurrection and new creation in the New Testament, we hear the leader’s call to help people build this new Sabbath into their lives. We build this into our everyday lives, but mainly we focus on this one day a week as a foretaste of the eternal Sabbath. We build a Sabbath where we celebrate a time of rest.

Sabbath celebrates God’s gift of rest for his people. This gift is essential in this season. Leaders need their congregations to live Sabbath as a time:

  • to celebrate God’s glory
  • to be reshaped as a people who live for God’s glory
  • to de-center ourselves and to center on God
  • to be healed from our brokenness and sin
  • to be a picture of a community that is visibly living God’s way of shalom

This building begins with building true Sabbath into our own lives. A time when we are refreshed, renewed, and brought more deeply into God’s vision of shalom.

This is not easy in a time of plague, but necessary for a healthy and faithful journey.

When we ask ourselves at this moment, “What am I building?” may one part of the answer be “a sanctuary in time.”