Cathedrals are often stupendous, magnificent and impressive buildings. In many cases, in a given town or city, the cathedral is amongst the most ancient edifices around, exuding great splendor and an imposing influence. They reflect centuries of invested effort, architectural skill; intricate design in stained glasses, mosaics and frescoes that make up the internal decorations. A lot of historic, symbolic and religious value is often attached to these buildings in communities around the world and up to today many people travel on pilgrimages to visit these structures. The Metz Cathedral in France for instance, first began to be built around the year 1220 AD and the work of construction and expansion continued through the centuries up to the year 1960. Much wealth and resources are placed in such edifices and they are regarded as sacred and symbolic by many.
The Bible talks of an institution as old and enduring as this world itself and with it is attached great meaning and symbolic value. Rather than being a physical edifice located in some part of the earth, it is a space within time, making it accessible to all inhabitants of earth, it is really ‘a cathedral in time’. It is called the Sabbath. After creating the world in six days, with all its teeming animate and inanimate contents, the Bible records that “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done”. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2, 3. The Scripture reveals to us that God distinguished and set apart this day from the other six in the weekly cycle through resting, blessing and sanctifying (making holy) the seventh day.
Later when the Ten Commandments were given in written form to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, at the heart of these statutes was the fourth commandment which talks of the Sabbath. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11. God designed the Sabbath to be a monument, a pillar, calling our attention as creatures to His love and creative power. Upon the seventh day God invites us to put a break to our secular labor and activity, and enter into special communion with Him and fellowship with one another. As we behold the beauty and wonder of creation, from majestic hills, babbling brooks to singing birds, and enjoy the blessing of human relations, our hearts are drawn in love to the Creator and His memory remains fresh in our minds.
Moreover, the Sabbath is also a sign of God’s power to set us free from sin and make us holy. The Bible says “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.” Ezekiel 20:12. In resting on the Sabbath we acknowledge God’s work of redemption through our Savior Jesus Christ who died for us and renews and regenerates our hearts. That the Sabbath was not just meant for the Jewish nation, is indicated by the words of Jesus when He says ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” Mark 2:27. In other words it was given to be a blessing to the human race, kept by our first parents in the Eden, it was to be kept by all their descendants.
God’s promise today to those who choose to keep His Sabbath is “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways…then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth…the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13,14
Key Text: “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” Mark 2:28