Sermon quotes on sabbath

Aesop’s Fables

If you keep a bow always bent, it will break presently; but if you let it go slack, it will be the fitter for use when you want it.

Aesop’s Fables

Karl Barth

A being is free only when it can determine and limit its activity.

Church Dogmatics, T&T Clark,Vol.III, Part I, p.215.


Richard Bauckham

The early church had no single answer to the question of the relevance of the Sabbath commandment to Christians. The churches of the New Testament period included a variety of views.

“Sabbath and Sunday in the Post-Apostolic Church,” in From Sabbath Day to Lord’s Day, ed. D. A. Carson, Wipf and Stock.

Henry Ward Beecher

A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.

William Garden Blaikie

The savings bank of human existence is the weekly Sabbath.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We now understand God’s rest to be at the same time the rest of his creation.

Creation and Fall; Temptation

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I feel as if God had, by giving the Sabbath, given fifty-two springs in each year.

Andy Crouch

There is perhaps no single thing that could better help us recover Jesus’ lordship in our frantic, power – hungry world than to allow him to be Lord of our rest as well as our work.

Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, InterVarsity Press.

Andy Crouch

There is so much more to sabbath than what we stop doing, but for the purposes of disciplining power, simply stopping matters a great deal.

Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, InterVarsity Press.

Andy Crouch

But on the seventh day God stops not only to bless but to “hallow” or set apart the sabbath. The holiness of God is revealed not just in what he does but how he rests.

Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, InterVarsity Press.

Marva Dawn

Sabbath is about four things: ceasing, resting, embracing, and feasting.

Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Eerdmans.

Marva J. Dawn

Sabbath ceasing means to cease not only from work itself, but also from the need to accomplish and be productive, from the worry and tension that accompany our modern criterion of efficiency, from our efforts to be in control of our lives as if we were God, from our possessiveness and our enculturation, and, finally, from the humdrum and meaninglessness that result when life is pursued without the Lord at the center of it all.

Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Eerdmans.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Sunday is the core of our civilization, dedicated to thought and reverence. It invites to the noblest solitude and to the noblest society.

Nan Fink

Shabbat is like nothing else. Time as we know it does not exist for these twenty-four hours, and the worries of the week soon fall away. A feeling of joy appears. The smallest object, a leaf or a spoon, shimmers in a soft light, and the heart opens. Shabbat is a meditation of unbelievable beauty.

Stranger in the Midst: A Memoir of Spiritual Discovery, Basic Books.

Harry Emerson Fosdick

He who cannot rest, cannot work; he who cannot let go, cannot hold on; he who cannot find footing, cannot go forward.

Matthew Henry

The streams of religion run deep or shallow, according as the banks of the Sabbath are kept up or neglected.

George Herbert

On Sunday heaven’s gates stand open.

Abraham Heschel

The Sabbath arrives in the world,

scattering a song in the silence of the night:

eternity utters a day.

The Sabbath

Abraham Heschel

Six days a week the spirit is alone, disregarded, forsaken, forgotten. Working under strain, beset with worries, enmeshed in anxieties, man has no mind for ethereal beauty. But the spirit is waiting for man to join in.

The Sabbath

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Yes, child of suffering, thou may’st well be sure; He who ordain’d the Sabbath loves the poor.


John Koessler

Sunday observance of the Sabbath was the subject of forty-seven acts of Parliament and often debated by American legislators in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

Taken from The Radical Pursuit of Rest by John Koessler. ©2015 by John Koessler.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

Abraham Lincoln

As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.

Martin Luther

The spiritual rest, which God particularly intends in this Commandment, is this: that we not only cease from our labor and trade, but much more, that we let God alone work in us and that we do nothing of our own with all our powers.

Thomas Babington Macaulay

I have not the smallest doubt that, if we and our ancestors had, during the last three centuries, worked just as hard on the Sunday as on the week days, we should have been at this moment a poorer people and a less civilized people than we are.

Shelly Miller

As we wait, God reveals his purpose in the preparations he is doing within us, and our hopeful outlook is the result.

Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, Bethany House.

Thomas S. Monson

This Sabbath day has been designated as a day of thanksgiving, a day of gratitude-even a day of prayer. We pause, we ponder, we reflect on the blessings an all-wise Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us, His children, by bringing peace to the battlefield of war and comfort to the hearts of so many in this wonderful world where we live and which we call home.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

A well-spent Sabbath we feel to be a day of heaven upon earth.

I Love the Lord’s Day.

A.A. Milne (Winnie-the–Pooh)

Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh

Wayne Muller

Like a path through the forest, Sabbath creates a marker for ourselves so, if we are lost, we can find our way back to our center.

Ernest R. Palen

Our madly rushing, neurotic society needs the therapy of the silence and quietness that flows from a day kept holy, really holy. A day when our thoughts are of God, our actions are tempered by a desire to serve God and our families, a day that is so different from other days that it could make us different in our relationship to God and to our fellow men.,

Taken from Herbert E . Saunders, The Sabbath

Eugene Peterson

Sabbath is that uncluttered time and space in which we can distance ourselves from our own activities enough to see what God is doing.

Taken from The Pastors Guide to Personal Spiritual Formation

Eugene Peterson

Sabbath is not primarily about us or how it benefits us; it is about God, and how God forms us. It is not, in the first place, about what we do or don’t do; it is about God – completing and resting and blessing and sanctifying. These are all things that we don’t know much about……But it does mean stopping and being quiet long enough to see – open-mouthed – with wonder – resurrection wonder…..we cultivate the “fear of the Lord”. Our souls are formed by what we cannot work up or take charge of. We respond and enter into what the resurrection of Jesus continues to do.

Living the Resurrection, Eerdmans.


Charles Reade

The green oasis, the little grassy meadow in the wilderness, where, after the week-day’s journey, the pilgrim halts for refreshment and repose.

Donna Schaper

Sabbath keeping is a spiritual strategy: it is a kind of judo. The world’s commands are heavy; we respond with light moves. The world says work; we play. The world says go fast; we go slow. These light moves carry Sabbath into our days, and God into our lives.”

Sabbath Keeping

Donna Schaper

Keeping sabbath may involve us in relinquishing certain kinds of power on behalf of other kinds. If we allow it, sabbath may bring us to true authority, true power. The road is that of letting go, rather than increasing. Relinquishing is a way to keep sabbath when all else fails. It is the back road, the side road, the little road.

Sabbath Keeping

Albert Schweitzer

Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.

Priscilla Shirer

God always and eternally intended the Sabbath to be a lifestyle—an attitude, a perspective, an orientation for the living that enables us to govern our lives and steer clear of bondage.

A.J. Swoboda

The Sabbath is a gift we do not know how to receive. In a world of doing, going, and producing, we have no use for a gift that invites us to stop. But that is the original gift: a gift of rest.

Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, Baker Publishing Group, 2018, Kindle Location 131.

A.J. Swoboda

The Sabbath teaches us that we do not work to please God. Rather, we rest because God is already pleased with the work, he has accomplished in us.

Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, Baker Publishing Group, 2018, Kindle Location 318.

A.J. Swoboda

Sabbath reminds us that “our time” was never our time in the first place. All time is God’s time.

Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, Baker Publishing Group, 2018, Kindle Location 340.

Barbara Brown Taylor

At least one day in every seven, pull off the road and park the car in the garage. Close the door to the tool shed and turn off the computer. Stay home, not because you are sick but because you are well. Talk someone you love into being well with you. Take a nap, a walk, and hour for lunch. Test the premise that you are worth more than you can produce – that even if you spent one whole day of being good for nothing you would still be precious in God’s sight. And when you get anxious because you are convinced that this is not so – remember that your own conviction is not required. This is a commandment. Your worth has already been established, even when you are not working. The purpose of the commandment is to woo you to the same truth.

An Alter in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet


Henry David Thoreau

Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives. This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle…It interrupts my dreams. There is no Sabbath.

Life without Principle

Andrew Wylie

The Sabbath is the link between the paradise which has passed away and the paradise which is yet to come.

Andrew Root

Sabbath is a period of ‘trying on’ God’s promised completion, trying on God’s future. Sabbath is not rest for a privileged few while all others serve them – that’s tourism. Sabbath is the inviting of all creation to be still and imagine the coming of God.”

Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry

Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight

Once upon a time Pennsylvania had a law that no inning of baseball for the Phillies or the Pirates could begin after 6pm on Sunday because on Sunday night you went to church. In St. Louis and other long-standing baseball cities, clergy can still go to baseball games for a dollar. The reason is that when the teams started Sunday Baseball they were afraid of resistance from the church. So clergy were given cheap tickets, but they had to sit in the upper seats. The battle is over now. Sunday is open for business.

Departing the Consumer Culture, Wiley, 2016. 

Wayne Muller

If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath—our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.


Pico Iyer

It’s the rest in a piece of music that gives it resonance and shape.

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere. TED Books: New York. 2014.

Mark Buchanan

Sabbath [is about trust]. Sabbath is turning over to God all those things—our money, our work, our status, our reputations, our plans, our projects—that we’re otherwise tempted to hold tight in our own closed fists, hold on to for dear life.

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2006), p. 98.

Tilden Edwards

An understanding and living of Sabbath time can help support a sane and holy rhythm of life for us. With it, we are given an alternative to the culture’s growing movement between driven achievement and narrow escape time. Instead of this deadly rhythm, we can find ourselves in the authentic classical Christian rhythm of ministry and Sabbath. This rhythm intrinsically can witness to and teach much about the Christian way.

Sabbath Time (Nashville: Upper Room, 1992), p. 15.

Wayne Muller

Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop—because our work is never completely done. . . . If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (New York: Bantam Books, 1999), pp. 82-83.

Dan Allender

The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight. The Sabbath, when experienced as God intended, is the best day of our lives. Without question or thought, it is the best day of the week. It is the day we anticipate on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—and the day we remember on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Sabbath is the holy time where we feast, play, dance, have sex, sing, pray, laugh, tell stories, read, paint, walk, and watch creation in its fullness. Few people are willing to enter the Sabbath and sanctify it, to make it holy, because a full day of delight and joy is more than most people can bear in a lifetime, let alone a week.


Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Sabbath…is more than an armistice, more than an interlude; it is a profound conscious harmony of man and the world, a sympathy for all things and a participation in the spirit that unites what is below and what is above.

The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951), 31–32.

Karl Barth

The command to celebrate the Sabbath, and therefore to cease and abstain from all our own knowledge, work and volition, even from all our arbitrary surrenders and inactivity, from all arbitrary quiescence and resting – this command claims from man that which on the basis of his self-understanding he can understand only as a sacrifice of his human nature and existence,

and against which he can really only rebel as life rebels against death.…It demands that he know himself only in his faith in God, that he will and work and express himself only in this imposed and not selected renunciation, and that on the basis of this renunciation he actually dare in it all to be a new creature, a new man. 

Church Dogmatics, III.4 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1960), 57–58.

Karel Čapek

We say that Nature rests, yet she is working like mad. She has only shut up shop and pulled the shutters down; but behind them she is unpacking new goods, and the shelves are becoming so full that they bend under the load. This is the real spring; what is not done now will not be done in April.

The Gardener’s Year (New York: Modern Library, 2002), 116.

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