Sunday Promoted as a Sabbath Rest
The issue of shopping on a Sunday is a hot topic in the UK at the moment as the British government deliberates over whether to pass a law to extend Sunday trading hours. Church leaders and Christian groups have publicly voiced criticisms against the proposition.
The plans to introduce new Sunday trading laws have, for the first time, united senior Roman Catholic, Church of England, Church in Wales, United Reform Church and Salvation Army members to publish a joint open letter expressing opposition to the proposal.
Last week, Christian Today’s Andy Walton looked at some of the reasons why there is a need to resist the planned extension of Sunday trading hours and, in doing so, the endless commodification of our lives. But why is this such a big issue for Christians today? Sunday isn’t about neatly confining God to one weekly slot in our schedules but the practice of setting aside one particular day of the week for religious observance and rest from work is incredibly valuable to Christians and has foundation in Scripture. Here are some Bible verses which illustrate the importance of the Sabbath and the conduct that is associated with it.
Exodus 20:8 – “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
Exodus 20:11 – For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Leviticus 16:31 – It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.
Deuteronomy 5:12 – “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.”
Isaiah 58:13 – “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,”
Luke 6:9 -Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to good or to do evil, to save or to destroy it?”
Luke 23:56 – Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Acts 13:44 – On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
Hebrews 4:9 – There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.