The Ringing of the Bell

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath..” Mark 2:27 ESV

This story about Jesus and the disciples walking through the fields is recorded in three of the four gospels and though you may have never heard a message preached from these verses, Matthew, Mark and Luke each considered it among the highlights of Jesus’ teaching. Our ignorance of the treasure that God intended Sabbath to be is one of the great losses of the church today. God’s Sabbath came not only before the law, but also before sin. Sabbath was built into the matrix of our world.  God’s Sabbath was His denouement: – the final act of HIs play, by which the strands of His plot were drawn together, and everything was resolved. Without understanding Sabbath, we cannot fully understand God’s story. When the Pharisees criticized the disciples’ behavior on the seventh day, Jesus made it clear that the purpose of the Sabbath was for it to be a day of blessing for man. God had not created man so the Sabbath could be observed, but He had created Sabbath as a day for man.

We once visited a village in Switzerland and on my Sunday morning walk, I passed by found a beautiful stone church.  As I paused to rest, a man drove up, unlocked the door and went in to ring the bells. How lovely they sounded as they pealed over the valley. After he had finished his duties, he locked the doors and drove away. Is that what we have become? Do we just go about our day, ring the bells but no one comes? Do we remember vaguely that it is God’s Day, but barely pause long enough to catch our breath? Till the end of time Sabbath will remain a blessing and is built into who we are as men and women. Sabbath rest, worship and prayer are the breath, life and foundation from which we go out to do everything else, and when we keep God’s Sabbath, we keep its blessing for us, our families and everyone who hears the ringing of the bell!

Photo by Luke Webb on

6 thoughts on “The Ringing of the Bell

  1. “Sabbath rest, worship and prayer are the breath, life and foundation from which we go out to do everything else…” So very true Pastor Pete. As a child I LOVED Sundays and it was truly the most restful and rejuvenating day of the week. I loved our church with its scriptura song filled worship and loving Sunday school teachers. Then in the afternoon my Dad would take us kids either hiking or off to spend time with our beloved Nana and Papa (while Mom got the afternoon at home to herself). As an adult I struggle greatly with Sabbath rest. After enjoying the fellowship of my sweet 3 year old Sunday schoolers and my helpers in first service, I’m tired but ready to be rejuvenated by time of worship, prayer, and the word. Only I find the modern format our church embraced over the last five years of lights and loudness drains my quiet nature leaving me physically and socially exhausted. More and more, I find myself dreading Sundays rather than anticipating them. I’ll confess the Covid shutdown was an incredible blessing for me and breathed rest back into the sabbath. I could turn down the music and enjoy the sermon on the porch. I could be still and know God. I ended Sunday refreshed and ready to go out and embrace the world with Christ’s love. I’m not sure quite how to reconcile the Sabbath and rest in the modern church setting.

    • If it is the style and not the content of the worship and the word then this might be an excellent question to respectfully ask your pastor. Our church is a lot like this as part of their desire to reach the younger generation. I do love the short quiet time of communion that settles our spirits just before the message.

      • Thanks Pastor Pete for your encouragement.
        Because the content is sound I feel like I am at fault for not adjusting to the new concert performance style. I’m afraid there was such negative pushback when the change was made by our new music minister plus our sanctuary was reconstructed to accommodate the new concert style that our pastor became defensive and made it clear from the pulpit that this is the way it was going to be so adjust. I do hope one day an opportunity will present itself to have a genuine dialogue about it with our senior pastor. In the meantime, the change did inspire me to incorporate a time of song into my morning devotion and oh how I love to hear hear the birds waking up outside as I enjoy singing a new to me hymn.

      • Oh you are so right it can be complicated and I do rejoice in seeing young families who enjoy the style coming in, getting baptized and joining our church. When we get to Heaven we will all love every style of worship there is for eternity!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s